Small businesses hit hard by national lockdown

The speed with which government enacted lockdown regulations to curb the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic meant that many small businesses did not have time to prepare adequately to safeguard their livelihoods.

2020-04-10 08:30:00 AM

The speed with which government enacted lockdown regulations to curb the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic meant that many small businesses did not have time to prepare adequately to safeguard their livelihoods, writes Unathi_Kwaza

The speed with which government enacted lockdown regulations to curb the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic meant that many small businesses did not have time to prepare adequately to safeguard their livelihoods.

And even with the Solidarity Response Fund that has amassed more than R2 billion in mainly private sector donations to assist small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs), many will find it impossible to access financial assistance.Most of our lawmakers have never run businesses and have never created jobs

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The fund requirements include an onerous criteria such as racial profiling of owners and that an SMME must have at least R2.5 million turnover a year.READ: Doors closed for applicants seeking relief from Johann Rupert’s R1bn fundDo informal traders match such a definition? How many SMMEs will be blocked from this opportunity merely because government doesn’t like the owner’s skin colour? Hasn’t occurred to the authorities that most of the white, Indian, coloured and foreign-owned SMMEs employ mainly black people?

For politicians, I guess all this is not important.Most of our lawmakers have never run businesses and have never created jobs. I’ve been self-employed and running my business from home for 11 years. I work with many small businesses, mainly in the informal sector. I have learnt that when politicians introduce policies, they never go back to business owners to see how these changes are working.

If I could have a day to speak to lawmakers, I would plead with them to first do proper impact assessments before implementing any new laws that will affect small businessesUnathi KwazaAt events we held for SMMEs, we discovered that these business owners weren’t even aware of the proposed bills in Parliament that affect them. And yet, these policies have a detrimental impact on their operations. There have been no grassroots consultations with the people who will be affected.

The owners of SMMEs already waste too much time and money complying with government requirements and bureaucracy – which means time away from running their businesses.If I could have a day to speak to lawmakers, I would plead with them to first do proper impact assessments before implementing any new laws that will affect small businesses. I would appeal to them to repeal laws that are stifling their operations.

This is important.The SMMEs stand a better chance of employing both new entrants into the labour market and those who have been desperately seeking employment for years. Freeing these small businesses from the government red tape would be beneficial to our economy. More successful SMMEs will help reduce the high unemployment levels.

READ:Covid-19 will be deadly to small businessesI am passionate about business because as an entrepreneur myself, I know how difficult running a one can be but it is also immensely rewarding. If schools taught entrepreneurship from Grade 1, we would be a better country for it.

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We need to encourage this as much as we can. Gone are the days when you go to school, then college or university, only to come out after 15 years as a job seeker. All courses at university or college should include entrepreneurship training.We need more students who have an innovative “job creator” mindset. The fourth industrial revolution requires that we rethink what the world of work looks like today.

How are we preparing children who are starting Grade R now for this technological revolution?A large part of it includes teaching entrepreneurial skills. We need more creators or inventors. Empowering people, rather than regulating them, is the way to go.

A great threat is that the rules and regulations, instituted prior and during the lockdown, become so draconian that when things return to normal, their impact will be worse than the Covid-19 pandemic wasUnder lockdown, many of us are trying to run businesses online from home. But how many of us are well prepared, with the right skills for this challenge?

Of course, some businesses require a physical store, but not all of them do. We need to rethink how we incorporate the digital into the physical.For a street trader, obviously this would be a challenge. But there is nothing to stop this kind of business from using WhatsApp, for instance, to find clients and arrange deliveries at people’s homes.

Businesses that will survive under these harsh economic times are those that continue to innovate and think outside the box. The current conditions demand that things be done differently.Even after the lockdown, the survivors will be those who continuously seek ways to outsmart their competitors.

South Africa’s credit rating has already been downgraded to junk status. This is all the more reason for us to innovate and find new ways to make our businesses successful. And government’s role is to create an environment that is conducive for small – and all – businesses to operate in.

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It is possible. A great threat is that the rules and regulations, instituted prior and during the lockdown, become so draconian that when things return to normal, their impact will be worse than the Covid-19 pandemic was. We must all guard against that.

Unathi Kwaza,an entrepreneur, freedom lover and social commentator, is a board member of the Free Market Foundation.The views expressed in the article are the author’s and are not necessarily shared by the Free Market Foundation. Read more: City Press »

Unathi_Kwaza They were only given 4 hours in India. Unathi_Kwaza This is like saying you were never given a chance to budget well for the funeral. 🤐 Kanti what is an emergency? marinavanzyl Unathi_Kwaza Aaaaai the Capitalist purple cow. This one is compromised, and always complaining about the government

Unathi_Kwaza tsek rubbish Unathi_Kwaza FarmMurders SouthAfrica BlackPrivilege This culture of non-payment is now firmly entrenched in South African culture and also obstructs Black people from owning property. 'We don't care about SME - we don't care about jobs - at least we are getting food parcels'

Unathi_Kwaza Someone should have paid more attention to the global news around this virus. This idiotic article would then never have been written to start with. Unathi_Kwaza All she knows is to complain and never ends a tweet with a solution- quick to jump why something is wrong and if you don’t agree with her she blocks you

Unathi_Kwaza We are at war. The enemy is already attacking us Unathi_Kwaza Excellent article Unathi_Kwaza Great article Unathi, I trust a small business owner like you to look after your clientele's health & best interests far more than I trust an out of touch politician to do the same! Entrepreneurs are every day heroes!

Unathi_Kwaza You are comparing economics to disease. You cannot. ramalokot Unathi_Kwaza The article is disappointing, though written a member of Free Market Foundation. It lacks real relevance. It's just shallow & sensationalist. Business ppl whether big or small must at all times keep up with news & adjust activities. Govt isn't to blame for COVID-19.

Unathi_Kwaza Unathi is upset that the virus didnt announce it was going to become a pandemic 3 months in advance 😅 Unathi_Kwaza oh gosh. this chick again. most countries who announced lock downs in advance had massive spikes in transmission because people travelled in between the period of announcement and lock down date. she is getting quite tiring tbh.

Unathi_Kwaza Very sad 😞 Unathi_Kwaza Well written Unathi_Kwaza and very well said. Unathi_Kwaza You say SMME's didn't have time to adequately safeguard their livelihoods because govt rushed us into a lockdown. You would've preferred govt telling SMME's to prepare themselves for a lockdown in advance? What steps do u think SMME's could've taken had they known in advance?

Unathi_Kwaza Bravo! Excellent article. Many of the responses show how steep the battle for creating prosperity for all is. Unathi_Kwaza Great piece, Unathi 👏🏻👏🏻 Unathi_Kwaza Hateful replies below prove AGAIN who's REAL delusional hatersSouthAfrica:Due to overpaid publicsector salaries so far removed from a reality of broken economy & fast worsening poverty,that theyre being snide;Like Zim,by the time THEIR salaries'unpaid,its too late

Unathi_Kwaza One thing for sure that i know about unathi, she hates herself. She would never advocate for anything that will improve lives of black people except for other races. Thanks for publishing my thoughts.👏 Unathi_Kwaza Anyone who claims this is sudden are stupid.. if they cared about the business they should have followed world business trends and china

Unathi_Kwaza The comments here 😂😂😂, Priceless! 🤞 Unathi_Kwaza Agree with unathi Unathi_Kwaza Emergency never gives anyone a chance. So many projects on hold. New business ventures, some invested money. I know of a startup farmer who paid Eskom R50000,00 for new electricity connections. All those on hold, it's an emergency.

Unathi_Kwaza Who will the small businesses sell to when everyone dies from the pandemic, including themselves. What sort of business will be conducted from beyond the grave? Where is common sense? Time2Coach Unathi_Kwaza capemanchris Unathi_Kwaza Wow it's like I've just read many different articles. So disjointed this piece is you'll be forgiven for thinking she writes on different topics. you guys should have created space for her to write more articles separately cause this one simply does not fit together

Unathi_Kwaza She is correct though. If they had more time they could have prepared better. The same goes for the citizens. If we had more time, we would have prepared better. More cigarettes and more booze to name just 2 of the list that people are crying for Unathi_Kwaza Very valid points Local fine tuning I agree big hammer approach was too harsh. I'm hoping for major tweaking in lockdown policy

Unathi_Kwaza So is everyone, so is the whole world. Please cut us some slack. What’s the point of complaining though!?💁🏽‍♀️. We are in the lockdown, it’s here to try curb the out spread of the virus. It’s about saving lives. Discuss solutions of how to make it through instead of moaning😢 Unathi_Kwaza It's a world pandemic for heavensake...the world as a whole was not ready for these.

Unathi_Kwaza Unathi Kwaza Andile Mngxitama Ntsiki Mazwai Steve Hofmeyr Toxic and vile bigots. Unathi_Kwaza She complains about everything, she has no interest in building nor injecting positivity, she is mainly supported by the right against the black government and the EFF. We are clear that lives comes first MorningLiveSABC

Unathi_Kwaza Great article 👍🏽 Unathi_Kwaza Lo Unathi udom manyani or uyazenzisa? Because wow🙄🙄🙄🙄 Unathi_Kwaza brainless poppy doll Unathi_Kwaza 🙄😒 Unathi_Kwaza Unbelievable...! I just can't believe Unathi at all.... Unathi_Kwaza What a compromised African child, shame man! Some of us are behind our government, keep on singing for supper🤣🤣

Unathi_Kwaza Which phone did you use to take this picture? 🤔 Unathi_Kwaza Emergency how do you prepare mehlolo ya lefatshe ask those who are still alive ka World War 2 ask them Unathi_Kwaza No one had time to prepare...... Unathi_Kwaza Has anyone or country ever been prepared for a sudden emergency like a pandemic?

Unathi_Kwaza Bekumele kutweni bantakwethu Unathi_Kwaza Purple Cow Unathi_Kwaza She's compromised....... Either way she was going to find something to Complain about... Unathi_Kwaza So is everyone...So what?

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Tourism SA allocates R200 million for small businesses affected by COVID-19 - SABC News - Breaking news, special reports, world, business, sport coverage of all South African current events. Africa's news leader.CEO of South African Tourism, Sisa Ntshona, says they have allocated R200 million relief package for small businesses in the industry that have been affected by COVID-19. I saw an ad yesterday. It referred to BEE. For sure there are people who are already looking sharply to the money for their own bellies to get full, while their bellies are already full!!!

Spaza shops permitted to operate during lockdown irrespective of owners’ nationalityThis after the small business development minister issued directives regarding the regulations governing the selling of groceries during the lockdown period. PresidencyZA Radio702 CyrilRamaphosa is the lock down over, JoburgMPD with everything now trading, but we'll can't go for a walk, jog or walk them dog, but there's kid's walking in and begging in Bosmont Can the sell cigarettes JoburgMPD is the lock down over in Bosmont, Newclare kids and adults are walking around

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Lockdown | Diary of a single, Soweto mom: I'm learning to appreciate the small thingsFor a few seconds, I forgot that we’re on lockdown as watched people move about freely, and children playing on our street.