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S/Africa: $280m relief fund for businesses affected by unrest

South Africa has raised US$279 million to assist businesses affected by the recent looting in Gauteng and KwaZulu Natal provinces to stand on their feet, Trade, Industry, and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel has said.The minister said Saturday that the relief fund has been reprioritised and contains contributions from various ministries.

Patel said the funds were raised by government to help businesses whose properties were damaged to get back “on a path of economic growth.” 

This funding would immediately support businesses to return into full operations, while they awaited either longer-term funding possibilities or insurance money, he said.

In addition, where necessary, it might supplement what the state-owned insurer, South African Special Risk Insurance Association (SASRIA), was currently doing to assist the businesses, according to Patel. 

“They may include grants where warranted, source of working capital for raw material replacement, stock replenishment and can be used in some cases, for equipment purchases, and small-scale repairs,” he added.

In addition, teams have been meeting with SASRIA to discuss how they could fast track insurance claims, he said.

“We want the economic benefit of that insurance cover to manifest itself as quickly as possible. They will also be looking at what support we can provide to uninsured businesses. And all of these discussions are well underway,” Patel said.

He said believed that the capital was expected to grow to over $286 million with the support of other entities within government to assist at least 900 companies.

Published on 10.02.2021

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