The spirit of ubuntu is once again thriving amongst many South Africans, with SMMEs and organisations lending a helping hand to small businesses which are paying the cost for mass civil unrest and violence in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. While some told Vutivi News that it was important that businesses and citizens assisted each other, others said they had little faith in the government giving SMMEs comprehensive support at this critical time.
Nkululeko Nyawose, who is the founder of Motloli Painters and Renovations, said he decided to help SMMEs because the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns had been very unkind to the sector. Nyawose said that his business had two offices in Kempton Park, Ekurhuleni, and in Durban.
It started trading as a construction company in 2017. “I looked at how I as a small business owner have been coping with Covid-19 and how small businesses have been suffering, and after seeing how small businesses were destroyed by looting, I was moved to do something,” he said.
“I decided that even if I wasn’t going to be able to help them with big things like buying stock, I could do something small for them that can make a difference.” Nyawoso’s company was available to help small businesses clean up, repair plumbing, paint their premises and fix their flooring.
“I have already helped three businesses that only required to clean their stores, and we told them if they need anything else, they can call us,” he told Vutivi News. He said that any small business from any sector could approach him for help.
Reshan Naidoo’s company, Zimele Scaffolding, has also stepped in to help small and larger enterprises in KwaZulu-Natal. The business is based in Chatsworth in Durban and employs 56 people. “As it is with Covid-19, they’ve lost so much money, so it will be difficult for them to recover from this,” he said.
“If the building got burned or damaged, they will need scaffolding to repair their roofs and structures. We’ll take a knock in terms of profit, but we can handle it.” NGO Cadena, which assists in crises and disasters across the globe, has partnered with Rebuild SA, a movement of volunteers that was started in South Africa two weeks ago to offering support, labour, resources and clean up relief following the riots.
Miriam Kajomovitz, who is a director at the Candena Foundation, said their aim was to assist communities that had been rocked by the unrest. “Places like small businesses, schools and clinics need a lot of attention, so we’re trying to help and work with communities,” she said.
“We’re currently focusing on the cleaning up, and then we are going to offer psychological support and treat people who faced trauma due to the lootings.
“We are also going to see how many funds we have, and then we will select small businesses to assist and see what they need, because not every business needs the same things to rebuild from what they lost,” Kajomovitz said.