WRITTEN BY: OMEGA NGEMA
The Department of Small Business Development is offering Covid-19 relief for Spaza shop owners to help navigate through these tough pandemic times.
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected people across the globe in many ways, arguably one of the hardest blows of the pandemic worldwide has been the economic one. The financial blow of the Covid-19 pandemic has been felt on almost all social strata’s in society from large corporations, government institutions, small businesses, informal traders as well as the working class and the destitute.
Needless to say when economic depressions emerge, it is oftentimes felt the most by the poorest of communities as these groupings are being downgraded from an already distressed circumstance. The Department of Small Business Development has come up with an aid that will endeavour to provide relief to the poorest of the poor by assisting Spaza shops with R7000 to waver the storm.
According to the department, the Spaza shop support scheme allows for businesses to access R3500 working capital injection in cash as well as an additional R3500 in revolving credit at preselected wholesalers. The nature of the revolving credit loan is that, Spaza shops owners are offered the ability to borrow the agreed upon amount many times over, as soon as the loan is settled.
Since being rolled out mid last year, the fund has however, as is the case with most government relief funds, been met with mixed reactions. While some Spaza shop owners complained about not receiving the full amount promises, others questioned the three to four months waiting period after applying, while some argued that the criteria to qualify which they said included a BBBEE status and township location for your Spaza shop was altogether unfair.
Taking to social media Hettie Fourie said the loan was simply not enough.
“The joke is it is a R7000 grant, R3500 for rent purposes and R3500 to buy stock, the Foreigners sells R3500 value stock in a day. And the four employees I have can just be retrenched and I save R14000 pm in salaries, so I will choose to no longer have employees outside my family,” said Hettie.
It was further argued by shop owners that with the irregularities the involving foreign nationals who bypassed set laws still in place, the relief would not be an effective tool to assist the industry.
“Government should first regulate these foreigners who have shops and tuckshops in South Africa so that legitimate business owners can also own spaza shops. This market accounts for atleast 80 per cent of rural retail in the country and it’s not regulated,” said Rapula Mokgole.
To register your business and apply for the Spaza shop grant visit www.smmesa.gov.za.