A bit rich, Khanyi

Khanyi Dhlomo is not disadvantaged, she’s a millionaire. Good for her. But the National Empowerment Fund (NEF) has been excoriated for granting her business a R34.1 million loan to open an elite boutique in Johannesburg’s Hyde Park Corner.

Dhlomo and the NEF have both explained to the media how she fulfilled all the NEF’s criteria and everything was above board. Yet scores of people who have had their funding applications turned down are crying foul.

The NEF is not obliged to approve every application. Many were no doubt deficient in substance and in the manner of presentation. Nor is the NEF a purveyor of micro-finance.

According to the Department of Trade and Industry, the “NEF’s role is to support B-BBEE”, broad-based black economic empowerment.

However, this loan is for the benefit of a narrowly based few who are already empowered. To make matters worse, the NEF has temporarily suspended approval of new transactions because it’s run out of funding. There’s a strong, valid perception that this is another example of the rich getting richer at taxpayers’ expense.


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