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Over R54m allocated to businesses affected by July unrest

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A total of R54.2 million has been approved to be paid to businesses that applied for financial relief via government’s online loss registration portal, reveals Cabinet.

According to a Cabinet statement, 192 applications were received from owners of small to medium companies that were affected by the violent looting in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and Gauteng.

In the wake of the July unrest, government set aside a multibillion-rand financial relief package, with national and provincial governments deciding on a range of measures to assist businesses hardest hit by the riots in Gauteng and KZN.

National Treasury last month unveiled the Business Loss Registration Portal. The portal, open until 30 September, allowed businesses to register and disclose damage to physical property, as well as loss of stock incurred between 9 and 19 July. In addition, affected businesses were able to call a hotline for assistance.

The registration portal collected data from affected companies to better coordinate relief measures and inform future interventions. It served as a single governmental entry point for businesses to indicate the extent of their losses and access available facilities.

The July unrest and destruction originated in certain parts of KZN, and quickly spread to Gauteng, sparked by protest action against the incarceration of former president Jacob Zuma.

According to government, in KZN alone, approximately 3 000 stores were looted and stock amounting to R1.5 billion was stolen, and 161 malls, 161 liquor outlets, 11 warehouses and eight factories were damaged.

In the ICT sector, the communications ministry revealed South African Post Office facilities were vandalised, while private sector companies like LG Electronics SA and Mustek’sDurban-based premises were also affected by the protest action.

All four of the South African mobile operators – Cell C, MTN, Telkom and Vodacom – confirmed damage to infrastructure.

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