The National Empowerment Fund and Solidarity Fund have committed to assist businesses affected by the civil unrest that gripped Gauteng in KwaZulu-Natal. File photo: SANDILE NDLOVU
The National Empowerment Fund and Solidarity Fund have committed to assist businesses affected by the civil unrest that gripped Gauteng in KwaZulu-Natal. File photo: SANDILE NDLOVU

The Solidarity Fund and the National Empowerment Fund (NEF) have teamed up to offer R450m in financial assistance to businesses affected by the civil unrest that gripped KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng earlier this year. 

Wongakazi Majola, pillar lead for the Humanitarian Crisis Relief Fund within the Solidarity Fund, said the partnership was conceptualised after President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement in July that the government would provide R400m to the crisis relief fund.

“We received the R400m but we also received money from other donors,” Majola said. “This humanitarian crisis relief fund is only looking at unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, while the Solidarity Fund continues its work.",

She said the humanitarian crisis relief fund decided to focus on business recovery, medical and food support.

The criteria for choosing businesses include that they had a turnover of R3m or more a year, and they are from areas that were affected by the looting. They must also have been operating before the unrest.

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“The NEF said they would come up with R300m for the partnership and we said we will come up with R150m. Ours is earmarked for grant funding,” she said. The R300m from the NEF will be an interest-free loan over 60 months.

Majola said 60 businesses were expected to benefit from the partnership. So far, 37 have been selected for funding valued at R298m.

Twenty-four percent of the 37 businesses are from Gauteng and 76% from KZN. These are companies that have either closed down or are struggling to stay afloat due to the unrest.

The NEF partnership will run until all the funds have been disbursed.

NEF spokesperson Moemise Motsepe said

the commitment between the two organisations was to help businesses reopen their doors so they could continue to provide goods and services to communities and to safeguard jobs, and “largely to ensure they continue the daily work of contributing to the country’s GDP.”

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