The Small Business Development Department has called on formal and informal SMMEs to apply for the various relief packages that were established to assist those impacted by July’s civil unrest. According to Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA) Executive Finance Manager Tumi Sefolo, the department had divided the support into two different packages for informal and formal businesses.
Sefolo said that R300-million has been set aside for these relief packages. “The first is for formal businesses where we are offering support up to R2-million of which 60% is a grant and 40% repayable loan at a 5% interest rate,” she said. “The second package is for informal traders where we are offering a once-off grant of R3,000 to restart their businesses.”
Sefolo told Vutivi News that the qualification criteria were not restrictive. “Businesses must have been operating as of 30 June 2021, and must have been affected by the unrest,” she said. “We require formal businesses to complete an affidavit or open a case at the nearest South African Police Service police station detailing the extent of the loss of damage, and to submit normal documentation (including) company registration, tax compliance documentation and financial information.
“Informal businesses must apply through their various associations, and if they don’t belong to associations, they can apply through municipalities or through our sister agency, the Small Enterprise Development Agency,” Sefolo said. She said SEDA, municipalities and associations were used as they could verify if a person was an informal trader and had been affected by the unrest.
Sefolo said that the blended finance option was only for formal businesses, and the 100% grant was for informal traders. When questioned on the allegations of a backlog during previous support packages by the department, she denied this, insisting that applications were sometimes incomplete. “When Covid-19 hit the country in March (last year), SEFA started the Covid-19 Relief Package which was a 100% loan and not a grant. In five weeks, we had approved 1500 business to the value of R500-million, and that was all the budget that was available,” Sefolo explained.
“Many businesses submit incomplete applications and when they do so it is impossible to process them, and it does cause a delay in the processing of the application,” she said. Sefolo also told Vutivi News that so far, the agency has received 120 applications and had approved close to 50. “We want to encourage everyone to come forward so that they don’t miss the opportunity to get the relief they require,” she said.