Covid-19: Small-business minister expected to announce R1bn support package

Small Business Development Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni. Picture: GCIS
Small Business Development Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni. Picture: GCIS

The department of small business development is set to “unleash” an estimated R1 billion support package to assist small, micro and medium-sized businesses to produce more of the critical consumer goods needed for the effective control of the Covid-19 coronavirus and to manage possible supply shortages.

The department was also looking at testing drone technology that may help government identify infections in crowded areas.

City Press has learnt that a media briefing was being planned for on Thurdsay at the Industrial Development Corporation’s offices in Sandton, during which Small Business Development Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni would present measures to help small businesses produce consumer items that are in high demand due to the virus, including toilet paper, masks and hand sanitisers.

If this drone technology is successful, then it could be useful in helping the department of transport to monitor possible coronavirus cases in taxi ranks, train stations and other crowded transport hubs.

A highly placed source in the department said: “The shelves are empty because of people buying in bulk, so we have to do something to boost production.”

The source also said that drone technology that could scan groups of people and record body temperature would be tested ahead of the briefing.

“If this drone technology is successful, then it could be useful in helping the department of transport to monitor possible coronavirus cases in taxi ranks, train stations and other crowded transport hubs,” said the source.

City Press has learnt that, in small towns like Mafikeng in North West, retailers had completely run out of hand sanitiser and, in Johannesburg, some stores were selling these products for up to three times the usual price.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24

E-Editions

Read the digital editions of City Press here.
Read now
Voting Booth
ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule has written a letter suspending party president Cyril Ramaphosa in apparent retaliation after he was served with a letter of suspension on Wednesday.
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
He doesn't have the power
27% - 23 votes
It’s a declaration of war
24% - 20 votes
Nothing but a distraction
49% - 42 votes
Vote