The Democratic Alliance (DA) calls on the Minister of Small Business Development, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, and her acting director-general, Lindokuhle Mkhumane, to urgently account to the Portfolio Committee on Small Business Development on why her department is failing to send much-needed relief to the millions of business owners and employees who are fighting to survive the economic shock of the pandemic.
This after the Auditor General (AG) of South Africa’s second report on the financial management of government’s Covid-19 initiatives revealed that 92% of the financial support earmarked for small business has not been paid out. Of the R1.4 billion that was budgeted for support to qualifying small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) affected by Covid-19, only 8% of the funds have been spend, meaning that almost R1.3 billion of the relief fund lies unspent.
Small businesses have been hit hard by government’s imposed hard Covid-19 lockdown last year, so severe in fact, that 42% of SMMEs did not survive the lockdown and had to close down.
The DA has received numerous complaints from SMMEs regarding the complex application process. Especially sole proprietors were excluded from the relief aid because it was problematic for them to register their business on the smmesa.gov.za website.
Millions of livelihoods depend on SMMEs to survive the Covid-19 pandemic. The Minister must remove the red tape and bottlenecks in her department that is preventing the fair allocation of these relief funds.