Cape Town – Parliamentary committees have welcomed the R500 billion social and economic stimulus package announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday night.
Chairperson of the portfolio committee on small business development Violet Siwela welcomed the announcement by Ramaphosa that, as part of government’s social and economic relief from the impact of the coronavirus, an additional R2 billion will be set aside to assist small and medium enterprises, spaza shop owners and other informal businesses.
Ramaphosa has also announced that the government has so far spent R100 million in assistance to SMEs, spaza shop owners and informal businesses.
Siwela said although the Minister of Small Business Development will provide further details, she believed that the assistance will be provided in the form of loans, grants and debt restructuring.
“The R2 billion will go a long way in providing much-needed relief to the most vulnerable, but yet so important, sector of the economy,” she said.
“Although the Covid-19 pandemic has placed the country and the world on an uncharted path that requires extraordinary measures to ease the impact on small businesses and other sectors of the economy, the government is doing its best under the circumstances.
“I would like to encourage the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) and Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) to assist with spreading information at the grassroots level,” Siwela said.
Machwene Semenya and China Dodovu, chairpersons of the portfolio committee on human settlements, water and sanitation – and the select committee on cooperative governance and traditional affairs, water and sanitation and human settlements respectively also welcomed the announcement of an additional R20 billion to fund emergency water and sanitation provision during the State of National Disaster.
“The announcement is a confirmation of the extent to which the government is willing to go to empower our people to fight this dreaded Covid-19 disease. The additional resources are a much-needed boost to the R306 534 000 budget already reallocated by the Department of Water and Sanitation,” Semenya said.
Dodovu cautioned against corrupt elements that might see the funding as an opportunity to fill their pockets with these relief funds.
“The National Treasury and National Department of Water and Sanitation, as well as the National and Provincial Departments of Cooperative Governance must put in checks and balances necessary to ensure that municipalities deliver on the envisioned programmes,” Dodovu said.
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By MAYIBONGWE MAQHINA