Hundreds of people looting Letsoho shopping centre in Katlehong on the East Rand. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)
Hundreds of people looting Letsoho shopping centre in Katlehong on the East Rand. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

MPs approve R32.8 bn for costs incurred during July unrest, looting in KZN and Gauteng

By Mayibongwe Maqhina Time of article published Nov 16, 2021

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Cape Town - The National Assembly has passed the Second Special Appropriation Bill which made available R32.8 billion for businesses affected by the July unrest and the continuation of the R350 Covid-19 special grant.

Tabling the report of the appropriation committee, chairperson Sfiso Buthelezi said the bill came in the wake of an announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa to help businesses hard hit by the unrest when former president Jacob Zuma was imprisoned.

Buthelezi also said the bill was providing for the continuation of the R350 grant until March 2022.

“The bill is the concretisation of this undertaking. This is a clear demonstration that this government led by the ANC will never forsake South Africans who experience hardship,” he said.

In his report to the National Assembly, the funding was as follows:

•R26.7 billion was for special relief of distress grants to the Social Development Department.

•R1.3 billion to the Department of Trade and Industry to support small businesses affected by the unrest.

•R3.9 billion to recapitalise state-owned insurer Sasria for claims made after the July unrest.

•R700 million for deployment of the soldiers, and

•R200m for costs incurred by the police during the unrest.

He said the intervention was in addition to other support packages that the government provided such as TERS and tax deference.

The fiscal and social position of the country remain constrained, he said.

“It should be clear that when we rebuild this economy we should take everybody on board.”

Buthelezi insisted that the expenditure was necessary.

“We agree that this should not undermine infrastructure spending. Risks associated with Covid-19 should be budgeted for so that we don’t have a special appropriation bill,” he said.

Buthelezi noted that a survey by the Department of Trade and Industry had found that 1 099 businesses were negatively impacted and there was potential loss orders amounting to R16.8bn over a period of 12 months.

There were about 14 016 jobs that would be lost.

Most businesses reported a combination of damages, including temporary business closures, stock, building equipment, fitting and supply chain disruptions.

“That is why we congratulate the government, the Cabinet and Minister of Trade and Industry Ebrahim Patel, the Independent Development Corporation (IDC), and National Empowerment Fund (NEF) for their lightning speed to respond to the unfortunate July events.

The department has already disbursed the funds before the bill was considered, he said.

The IDC approved applications of 45 businesses to the value of R1.68bn and disbursed R794m.

The NEF had approved or disbursed R900m for restoration of 143 businesses.

“This will save about 7 316 jobs in our struggling economy, Buthelezi said.

He also thanked the Solidarity Fund for its contribution with R150m towards rebuilding of businesses in the aftermath of the unrest.

The bill will be referred to the National Council of Provinces for concurrence.

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Political Bureau

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