Looted black-owned businesses left in the cold
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DURBAN - THE National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Nafcoc) claimed that many black-owned businesses have been excluded from applying for the government or private sector support throughout the pandemic, because they do not have the resources to supply the basic paperwork required for the applications.
Business owners were still struggling financially to open their stores for trade three weeks after shops were looted in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
Nafcoc spokesperson Refilwe Monageng commented as the deadline for youth-owned enterprises affected by the recent looting and violence loomed. They have until Friday to submit applications to the Youth Enterprise Rebuilding Fund.
The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) established the fund to assist youth-owned enterprises affected by the recent looting and violence and have no form of insurance cover. The NYDA said they remained committed to supporting the Economic Recovery and Reconstruction Plan. It encompasses the Presidential Youth Employment Intervention, which was announced at the State of the Nation Address in 2020 and reaffirmed on Youth Day 2021.
On Sunday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said it was crucial that businesses urgently reopened. He said businesses that were insured would be allowed to claim from Sasria. Ramaphosa said government would assist businesses that were not insured, such as small and medium-sized businesses.
He said that they were also working with large businesses to determine their contribution to the support of SMMEs, job creation and eradication of hunger and poverty.
Monageng said the measures announced by Ramaphosa were a useful step forward. He appealed for relief to be extended to Nafcoc workers, employers and communities urgently.
“The reality is that many black entrepreneurs were already living from handto-mouth. They were in no position even to produce the basic tax clearance, or the other compliance paperwork frequently required to access the limited relief available. The livelihood of potentially millions of South Africans are at stake,” Monageng said.
Furniture King director Mervyn Hauptfleisch’s three stores were looted on Umgeni Road. He said on Wednesday that he was still waiting for his broker to assist him with the claim for compensation from the government.
Hauptfleisch said he was waiting for the City View Complex in Greyville to declare the building structure safe and for it to reopen. Hauptfleisch employed 32 staff and his 17-year-old business was ruined with stock losses close to R8 million.
“When I arrived at the stores I could not stop crying. Items were scattered everywhere. More than 60 lounge suites were stolen. It was done without resistance. I fear they might do it again in the near future. The stores also worked with 10 black-owned private delivery vehicles. These stores supported many people through a chain reaction. The link has been broken,” he said.