DA slates government for race requirement in SMME help strategy

DA slates government for race requirement in SMME help strategy

DA's John Steenhuisen. Picture: Gallo Images / Sowetan / Veli Nhlapo

This follows a spat over a leaked document from the Department of Small Business Development that proposed that only businesses with more than 51% black ownership would receive help.

The Democratic Alliance says the governments’ plan to help SMME’s during the Covid-19 crisis is in shambles and that President Cyril Ramaphosa personally needs to take charge of the situation.

The existence of race criteria was strenuously denied by government earlier in the week.

Despite this, the DA says it notes that Minister of Small Business Development Khumbudzo Ntshavheni has said that while all businesses would be considered, she also said that demographic and provincial factors would play a role.

‘This is essentially the same thing,’ says the DA’s John Steenhuisen.

‘At the heart of this issue is an unguided communications strategy, and the mixed messages that result from this can only lead to panic, fear and anger.’

‘The Department of Small Business’ website for SMME funding has been down for the entire day. It is unthinkable that 36 hours before the lockdown, businesses are no clearer as to whether they will receive state support, and have no ability to apply for such support. Clear communication and access to information are absolutely critical right now.’

Steenhuisen wants President Ramaphosa to intervene personally.

‘It is up to you to clarify precisely what these business funding regulations entail before our country goes into lockdown. Many small businesses are on the brink of suffering potentially irreparable damage and thousands of South Africans stand to lose their jobs. They have the right to know.’

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