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MTN and eThekwini Municipality partner to offer R10m funding for looted spaza shops

MTN and the eThekwini Municipality set aside R10m to help informal traders in KZN and Gauteng affected by the rioting and unrest.

MTN and eThekwini Municipality partner to offer R10m funding for looted spaza shops. Picture: Supplied.

Published Sep 5, 2021

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DURBAN– MTN and the eThekwini Municipality have set aside R10 million to help informal traders in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng who were affected by the rioting and unrest.

Jacqui O’Sullivan, corporate affairs executive at MTN, said the support was to help small informal trading businesses affected by the recent looting to recover.

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The company said the funding was not a loan but a once-off grant funding for qualifying traders, aimed at assisting at least 1 000 shopowners.

It said in the days following the unrest, MTN SA chief executive Godfrey Motsa made a public plea for big business to work closely with small and micro businesses to help re-establish and support those entities that were among the hardest hit during the rioting and looting.

O’Sullivan said MTN had led the way by committing R10 million to support the qualifying spaza shops in KZN and Gauteng that were decimated during the unrest.

“MTN has opened applications for other spaza shops that may be requiring support and are looking to become mobile money (MoMo) agents. Interested parties should email [email protected] , following which the necessary criteria will be shared for further communication. Spaza shops help drive local economies, they create jobs and are often hubs of business activities, and they bring basic foods and services directly into communities that have historically been desperately underserved.

“We want people to be able to buy airtime and cash-in or cash-out on MoMo but importantly, we want these communities to return to a sense of normalcy and pride, which is why we will be partnering with identified stores to help with their rebuilding and restocking,” said O’Sullivan.

She said the company assistance would extend beyond just MTN products and would also help with restocking the spaza shops with some of their traditional merchandise sold in their stores.

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eThekwini Municipality spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said spaza shop owners were encouraged to email details of their location.

He said spaza shop owners would need to also provide “their contact details and an explanation of the impact they have suffered as a result of the looting and violence. Potential beneficiaries will be assessed by trade representatives.”

The closing date for applications for grant funding is September 12, 2021. Qualifying traders will be notified by the companies and the city.

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THE MERCURY

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