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.
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.