Posted: September 8, 2021
Companies that were adversely affected by the July civil unrest are poised to receive improved service from the agencies and institutions tasked with funding them to revive their businesses or to get them back into full operation.
This was the sentiment expressed by the Acting Chief Director of Special Economic Zones and Industrial Parks at the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic), Mr Thami Klassen.
Klassen was speaking after a multi-stakeholder workshop that was held by the dtic in partnership with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA) in Durban today. The workshop marked the first day of the roadshow that the two departments will be undertaking throughout affected towns in KZN over the next few days.
“As government we want to see companies, both big and small, that were affected by the unrest in July back to full operation. These are the companies that we expect to contribute in growing our economy and in sustaining jobs or creating new job opportunities. The Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns had already impacted negatively on our economy. The unrest just caused more damage to the economy, particularly in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng,” said Klassen.
He added that although government responded appropriately by establishing a R3.75 billion package for the restoration of businesses adversely affected during the violent looting and unrests, there was a need to speed up the disbursement of the funds to minimise the impact already caused to the companies.
“Today’s workshop was very important in that all the departments, institutions and agencies that are responsible for the distribution of these funds came together under one roof and shared information and exchanged ideas. It was important to understand what each one of us is doing in this crucial project, where we are at, and what challenges are there,” said Klassen.
The South African Special Risks Insurance Association (SASRIA), National Empowerment Fund (NEF), Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA) and Department of Small Business Development (DSBD) presented on their funding packages at the workshop.
Klassen expressed confidence that from today the process will be running with minimal hurdles and delay as the administrators have sat together, shared experiences and identified bottlenecks and cross-cutting blockages all of which will be eradicated going forward.
Klassen also said the information portal that was unveiled at the workshop would also contribute in ensuring that various institutions that are responsible for assisting businesses with funding deposited updated information on their progress as they disburse the funds to businesses.
The information portal, developed by the Moses Kotane Institute (MKI), is a central database for KwaZulu-Natal. The portal is meant to consolidate databases and information on relief measures and will ensure better coordination in the disbursement of relief measures and eliminate double-dipping.
Officials from the two departments and the various agencies will be in KwaMashu to continue with the information sharing sessions with affected businesses. Site visits will be conducted.
Bongani Lukhele – Director: Media Relations
The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic)
Mobile: 079 508 3457
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Media Liaison Officer – EDTEA
Cell: 060 968 2417