Cape Town – Formal and informal sector small businesses hard-hit by pandemic restrictions in the province have a small window of opportunity to apply for a share of R27 million in Covid-19 relief funds.
Finance and Economic Opportunities MEC David Maynier said: “The closing date for submissions is Monday, October 12 at 10am. I would like to encourage all interested small businesses to apply on the department’s website.”
Maynier made the call following the release of the Stats SA Quarterly Labour Force Survey which showed the effect of the pandemic on the provincial economy.
“While the Western Cape continues to have the lowest expanded unemployment rate in South Africa, the lockdown has had a major impact on the economy and quarter on quarter 321 000 jobs have been lost which has had a devastating effect on people’s lives,” said Maynier.
“The fund will provide financial assistance in the form of a financial grant to businesses who can apply to either the formal or informal business category. The grant will be used exclusively to subsidise business expenses.”
Managing director of consulting and training company WWISE, Muhammad Ali, said: “As businesses in South Africa adapt in lockdown level 1, government support is key to galvanising SMEs in a post-Covid-19 world.
“SMEs represent more than 98% of the businesses in South Africa, employing 50% to 60% of the country’s workforce across all sectors, and are responsible for a quarter of job growth in the private sector.”
DA provincial spokesperson on economic development Deidré Baartman said: “What is needed is economic opportunity. By cutting red tape, ensuring energy security and creating an investor friendly environment, we can turn the tide of unemployment.
“Another source of hope is the commitment by President Ramaphosa to allow municipalities which are in good standing to purchase their own power. This is an important step as it will ensure energy security and contribute to much-needed investor confidence in the renewable energy and manufacturing sector.”