Hon. CT Msimang, MP
24 July 2020
Honourable Members, one of the greatest tragedies of the Covid-19 pandemic is undeniably the impact it has had on our small, medium and micro-enterprises.
These enterprises form the lifeline of our economy and are vital for job creation. Over 95% of enterprises globally are SMMEs and they employ 60% to 70% of the working population.
This sector remains one of the greatest opportunities to address the alarmingly high unemployment rate in our country.
Before turning to the Supplementary Budget of the Department of Small Business Development, the IFP wishes to stress its utmost sympathy with these enterprises’ struggle during these unprecedented times.
On the announcement of the lockdown, the IFP welcomed President’s Ramaphosa’s announcement of socio-economic relief packages, including the Covid-19 Loan Guarantee Scheme provided to small businesses.
However, the IFP was concerned that the strict financial requirements for qualification for these loans provide a great obstacle in accessing financial relief.
Although the IFP in general supports the Department’s Supplementary Budget, the IFP remains highly concerned about the impact of the downward revision on critical programmes of the Department.
In specific, the IFP is concerned about the impact of the reprioritisation of funds for the Township Entrepreneurship Fund, which originally had R800 million allocated to it for the current financial year.
According to the Department’s briefing, these funds have now been reprioritised for Covid-19 interventions and the Township Entrepreneurship Fund has been suspended. It is critical that in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic we do not forgot the need to uplift and support these township enterprises.
Honourable Members, in these desperate times we need to ensure accountability and transparency are effectively enforced.
The IFP therefore strongly urges the Department to be transparent in ensuring oversight of the administration of Covid-19 relief funds. As a country we cannot afford any waste of resources. It is critical that the funds so desperately needed are properly managed and reach those that are most in need of help.
Hon. CT Msimang, MP
082 452 2650