Looted black-owned businesses ’will suffer more due to lack of support from banks
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THE BLACK Business Chamber (BBC) has raised concern over the number of black businesses affected by this week’s looting in several parts of South Africa and stressed those businesses “might suffer more after the unrest due to the continuous lack of financial support from banks towards small black-owned businesses”.
“Small black-owned businesses which were torched and looted are going to need financial support to recover after the unrest, and just like the unfair distribution of Covid-19 relief loans, black businesses will once again face discrimination while big white companies get the first opportunity with assistance,” said BBC’s chairperson Sizwe Ngqame.
Ngqame said while the pandemic had already created an increase in unemployment after several businesses had to close down as a result, the looting was set to make matters worse if the government did not consider implementing radical economic transformation as a matter of urgency.
“The current situation indicates it is now time for a radical economic transformation to be implemented and it is time to make sure this time the doors of small-black businesses who have been torched and looted are seen first (for assistance) by the government.
“Black businesses have been struggling severely prior to the looting and pandemic, and the two (looting and pandemic) are just adding to the wounds that were already bleeding,” he said.
He said banks “were owned by beneficiaries of the apartheid regime” who made sure they defended themselves in such situations and just like at the start of the pandemic many black businesses suffered due to a lack of financial support from banks and the government.
“There has never been a direct mechanism by the current government and when we voiced our concerns to them (government), asking them not to be reactive but to be proactive, as there might be a ticking bomb approaching and they did not listen.
“We portrayed our frustration to the government, even since the start of the pandemic, and told them if they are not serious about the township economy and real economy, which is mixed with the injustices of apartheid and colonialism, then we will see a nationwide riot and it will be ungovernable,” said Ngqame.
He said the poor who are being labelled as looters were putting their lives on the line because they had nothing to lose. “They are not looters by nature. However, because of poverty, unemployment, and being ignored by the government they have now been pushed by circumstances.
“The poor have been behaving for more than 25 years with the hope that the government will implement radical transformation and are reacting after 25 years. This was a ticking bomb.
“But what happened was the current government has taken radical transformation as a joke as our leaders are too concerned about focusing on political party factionalism, not looking at the escalating issue of poverty.
“The current looting is as a result of apartheid and colonialism, which caused a high level of unemployment, poverty, and inequality, with absolutely no implementation to avoid it,” he said.
Ngqame called on all citizens, including white people, to join in on the transformation and make sure this country was peaceful, in a radical and peaceful way. “But there will be no peace if we continue like this,” he said.
BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE