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R10m relief for KZN rural and township shops affected by July unrest

Department of Economic Development’s Ravi Pillay announces grant relief funding for looted rural and township shops. Picture: Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency (ANA)

Department of Economic Development’s Ravi Pillay announces grant relief funding for looted rural and township shops. Picture: Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Mar 7, 2022

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DURBAN - The KwaZulu-Natal Cabinet has approved the disbursement of R10 million in grant relief for rural and township shops affected by the July unrest.

The Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs in KwaZulu-Natal (Edtea) made the announcement recently.

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A statement from the KZN provincial government stated that following the unrest and a survey conducted by the department, the government had approved an intervention aimed at providing a relief grant amount up to R20 000 per shop, and would assist more than 500 shops across the province with trading stock, excluding alcohol and related products.

The government stated that rural and township businesses that were badly affected were not reported, and missed out on the financial assistance provided to some businesses. The application forms would be available at all Edtea offices and claims would be subjected to rigorous verification processes to ensure that deserving and qualifying shops received support, read the statement.

Apart from the grant relief, rural and township shops would also receive financial assistance from the newly established Zimele Traders Fund, which was also approved by the provincial cabinet. The government said the fund would provide capital loan funding and automation facilities. The fund would provide shops and general dealers with support to transform their businesses into viable shopping outlets offering a one-stop shopping experience.

“The loan amounts will be anything up to R100 000 per qualifying shop, and the shops will be supported with pay-point machines free of charge.”

The support which is a first of its kind toward rural and township shops would also be driven under the Edtea. This initiative will give an opportunity to rural and township shops to contribute to the local economy and assist in a post-Covid-19 economic recovery programme.

Black Business Federation spokesperson Sfiso Shezi welcomed the gesture but their main concern was that there was no consultation with the shop owners or their representative. Shezi said they were not consulted about the relief grant and said the federation input was important.

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“We wonder how the government arrived at the number of the shops that would benefit and the figure of R20 000. There were many shops that were affected by the unrest but the question is what criteria the government would use to select 500 from all the affected shops,” said Shezi.

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