On 18 April 2020, the Department of Small Business Development announced, in a media statement, guidelines for participation in spaza shops and general dealers Covid-19 support scheme.
At the time they said: “The Department has finalised an agreement with Nedbank to support spaza shops and general dealers on the back of the Credit Guarantee Scheme of SEFA.”
To ensure that, during lockdown, there is a maximum outreach and ultimately maximum participation by spaza shops owners who do not have Wi-Fi connectivity and internet hardware at homes to apply for the support programme, on May 24, 2020, The Black Business Chamber (BBC) approached Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA) via Don Mashele Head: Development Impact Support for purposes of partnering in rolling out SMME support programmes.
While the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has yet to be signed by both parties, however, both parties have agreed that:
- BBC can still play the facilitation role by encouraging South African owned spaza shops within their database to enroll for the programme
- BBC to play a referral role for wholesalers to participate in the program, those in the Western Cape.
- BBC to assist in facilitation of community radio stations to reach out to spaza shops to encourage them to participate in the programme.
- BBC to play a facilitation role in rolling out other SMME support programmes like small scale bakery and confectioneries support scheme, informal and small-scale clothing and textile support scheme, automotive aftermarkets support scheme etc.
To that effect, BBC has started with its facilitation activities, some spaza shops have been referred to participate in the programme and the process of which is still in progress.
The first radio interview was done on Thursday, 11 June 2020, on Radio Zibonele frequency 98.2 with Sizwe Ngqame representing BBC and Alex Qunta representing Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) Western Cape.
A discussion is underway with one of the programme managers both at Good Hope FM frequency 94.97 and One FM frequency 94.0 in the West Coast respectively and radio stations in the Western Cape to have a slot.
Wholesalers in the Western Cape are being approached one operating in Philippi has been recommend and referred to SEFA.
In spite of the feedback we got from about 20 spaza shops that we physically visited in Nyanga, Delft, Mfuleni and Khayelitsha, citing certain challenges as explained below BBC is calling on South African spaza shops owners and other SMMEs to keep their pecker up and grasp the opportunities as presented in spaza shops and general dealers support scheme and other support schemes.
- Most of these spaza shops are run and managed by owners, most of whom only find time to go to the wholesaler to buy stock. As such, some have mentioned that it is difficult to take many hours away from a business.
- Some spaza shops are just frightened by a mere mention of mention of UIF and SARS as parts of the qualifying criteria. One example is that of an extremely excited spaza shop owner in Delft who runs two successful spaza shops, one in Leiden and the other in Delft South, who got frightened away when BBC explained the qualifying criteria and who never showed any further interest.
- Some weeks since the programme was announced all the 20 shop owners have claimed that they were hearing for the 1st time about the programme. Which therefore suggest an intense outreach is needed if the programme is to be successful.