Production

Government committed to rebuilding areas affected by unrest

Deputy President David Mabuza says government remains committed to rebuild the economy through infrastructure investment and support to small businesses that were left destroyed in the wake of the recent civil unrest in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

The Deputy President said this when he responded to oral questions during a sitting of the National Council of Provinces on Thursday.

“We remain committed to our efforts of economic reconstruction and recovery of the economy, which should empower our people and forge a sustainable development, especially on women and young people,” he said.

Addressing the sitting of provincial delegates, Mabuza condemned public violence and accompanying acts of criminality such as looting of businesses and destruction of property that took place last month.

He said no amount of grievances should leave us on a path of destruction and lawlessness.

Mabuza said as a measure to stimulate economic recovery, government has availed R2.3 billion to support businesses that were affected by ongoing restrictions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and was made worse by the looting and destruction of logistical infrastructure.

“The amount is made up of the reprioritisation of R700 million by the Department of Trade and Industry and Competition and R300 million by the Department of Small Business Development.

This support is directed at:

Critical infrastructure refurbishment to support bulk infrastructure development in the affected economic areas such as industrial parks, shopping centres and factories;

An industrial loan facility to support manufacturing companies affected by the looting and COVID-19 with a specific focus at rebuilding of infrastructure for premises, restocking and working capital;

A Retail Recovery Support Fund, which will provide interest free loans to companies that have been affected by the unrest towards funding for the rebuilding of infrastructure;

A business survival support programme to assist affected small enterprises with working capital including stock, machinery, equipment, revolving credit facility with a payment moratorium of up to 12 months and a repayment period of up to 84 months.

Mabuza said an additional R1.3 billion has been allocated to the Department of Trade and Industry and Competition for the funding of uninsured businesses that were affected by the riots.

“Our immediate priority is to accelerate the implementation of our economic recovery and reconstruction plan to revive all destroyed business and create and protect existing employment and drive inclusive growth.

“Further to this, government is also working with social partners to implement social and economic relief packages that will support households and provide assistance to affected businesses and employees.”

Mabuza said the Unemployment Insurance Fund has set aside R5.3 billion for the extension of the covid-19 TERS coverage. This, he said, will mainly cover those who have lost their jobs due to the lockdown and recent looting and destruction of businesses.

He said with regards to KZN, the office of the Premier has advised the Presidency that over 3 000 businesses, including facilities, were looted, vandalised and burnt, resulting in more than R15 billion of damage to property and equipment.

Mabuza says the province has developed a plan to renovate and support vandalised township shopping malls and shopping centres that are based in rural areas.

Source: South African Government News Agency