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On December 14 last year, at the start of the silly season, labour minister Mildred Oliphant launched a R2bn fund to support small business start-ups, which are expected to create “more than 10,000 jobs”. Unsurprisingly, there wasn’t much publicity for the scheme. After all, working people were heading home for a well-deserved rest. It is not immediately clear why Oliphant decided to bury this piece of “good” news in the middle of road fatality statistics. In basic crisis communications, one announces bad news — such as poor public services — during a busy news cycle or during holidays in the hope that the story will either be buried or be noticed only by a few. The fund, to be known as Project Development Partnership Fund (PDPF), is a joint venture between the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) and the Public Investment Corporation (PIC). Its cure-all aims include funding the creation and growth of small businesses; creating companies in specific sectors such as agribusiness and bio...

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