Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

MPs plan to assess impact of unrest on small businesses in KZN and Gauteng

By Mayibongwe Maqhina Time of article published Jul 24, 2021

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Cape Town - Parliamentarians serving on the small business development portfolio committee have decided to undertake a visit to KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, following the unrest that resulted in looting and untold losses to businesses.

On Saturday, the MPs decided to visit both provinces, as a collective team, rather than splitting into two groups visiting either of the provinces.

Committee chairperson Violet Siwela said they called the urgent meeting, because of the current situation faced within the country.

“The observation is that things are not going well in our country. We appreciate the efforts made by the government and it is essential that all portfolio committees need to rise above and assist the society,” Siwela said.

She said the small business development portfolio was highly affected because of the destruction which occurred in the two provinces.

Siwela said, they had to decide how best to monitor the government. “We need to be sure about our department and what it is our department is doing, so that we can be able to do oversight. We can take trips to monitor, but if we are not sure what to monitor, it becomes a little bit of a problem.”

However, Small Business Development Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, her deputy Rosemary Capa and director-general Lindokuhle Mkhumane, were not in attendance to brief the department on the work they are doing for small businesses.

An official in Ntshavheni’s office informed the MPs that the ministry has visited the malls in Alexandra and Mamelodi, among others, where things were the unrest had extensive negative impact.

The official said the department was still checking what to do to assist the affected small businesses.

“It would be better if the DG was here,” she said in reference to intervention still to be outlined by the department.

Siwela said, although they had felt they could not have the meeting without the department, they needed to decide on their programme, despite the absence of the department’s leadership.

A presentation by a committee support staff has proposed that the MPs visit uMgungundlovu, King Cetywayo and eThekwini municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal.

“We are going there to do an assessment of some sort with the department,” said the official.

There is a plan to Ekurhuleni, City of Joburg, and the Tshwane metros.

“We will develop a programme that may extend to two or three days.”

During the meeting, MPs emphasised that they needed to focus in their meetings with small businesses that lost business and needed assistance.

Siwela, said they would allow the officials to draft the proposal, and then seek permission from House chairperson of committees Cedric Frolick for the trip.

“We are going there to get the information, so that when we come back, we advise the department on how best to assist our businesses,” she said.

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Political Bureau

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