Funding agency devoted to job creation

Johannesburg – The Small Enterprise Finance Agency (Sefa) is automating its application process for funding to improve service delivery as more and more small businesses apply for assistance.

Sefa was responding to an allegation from the DA that it had used just 8% of Covid-19 funds at its disposal.

DA spokesperson for small business development Jan de Villiers said the department and its entities had dropped the ball.

“Even after our own adjustments of the figures to include the smaller allocation, the facts still do not bode well for the minister [of Small Business Development Khumbudzo Ntshavheni] with 82.5% of funds not having been spent as of September 2020,” said De Villiers.

“What makes this all the more worrying is that a recent study by FinFind showed that 42.7% of small business have shut their doors during the first five months of the initial lockdown, with 60% of full-time jobs lost, 76.8% of part-time jobs lost, 54.4% of casual jobs lost, and 41.4% of consultant jobs lost.”

Mxolisi Matshamba, Sefa’s CEO, said the entity had already approved a total of R572-million (against a budgeted R733.6-million) and that this amounted to 78% of the funds available to it.

“The single biggest-challenge we face is that a large number of businesses that apply for funding do not meet the funding requirements. Most of the applications are rejected because critical supporting documents have not been included in their applications,” said Matshamba.

He added that the agency had also approved R105-million for SMME (small, medium and micro enterprises) payment holidays.

“Sefa is committed to fuelling economic growth and job creation by offering accessible, affordable development finance in the form of credit facilities to SMMEs and co-operative enterprises,” said Matshamba.

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