Loadshedding does not discriminate and neither must Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams

Issued by Jan de Villiers MP – DA Shadow Minister for Small Business Development
27 Jan 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Jan de Villiers MP.

The DA welcomes the announcement by the Department of Small Business Development that they are working on a loadshedding relief package for the SMME sector. However, 8 days has lapsed since the announcement, and SMMEs need aid immediately as the ANC-induced power outages are wreaking havoc on the sector and small businesses are battling to keep their doors open.

The economic impact of loadshedding on small businesses has been severe, and many of them are struggling to stay afloat. The DA looks forward to an announcement that is practical and easily accessible to all small businesses, and we trust that the pronounced relief will not be dependent on whether a business meets the requirements set out by BBBEE legislation.

Loadshedding does not discriminate on race and neither must the government when providing relief. The past actions of the previous Minister of Small Business Development, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, using BBBEE racial requirements in the provision of relief to small businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the announcement by the previous Minister of Tourism, Kubayi-Ngubane, that the Tourism Covid-19 relief fund would be guided by BBBEE legislation, were unacceptable, illegal and must be not be repeated.

Even during a pandemic – when businesses that are owned and operated by people of all races suffered and many had to close their doors permanently – the ANC government still prioritised its racial agenda.

We call on the Department of Small Business Development to stop stalling and take immediate action by providing relief to all SMMEs who are suffering as a result of loadshedding. The government must ensure that relief is distributed in a fair and transparent manner, without any discrimination. We trust that the department will take this into consideration when finalizing the relief package.

The DA strongly opposes any presupposition based on race and will fight the decision if the department bases access to the relief on racial quotas. All SMMEs are equal victims of loadshedding and deserve equal access to relief.

We call on the Minister and her Department to act swiftly and provide relief to small business owners who are suffering as a consequence of ANC incompetence. All SMMEs deserve equal access to relief, regardless of their race or compliance with BBBEE legislation. The DA will continue to fight for the rights of all small businesses and ensure that they receive the support they need to survive and thrive.