Youth business council warns poor won’t have anything to eat after Corona outbreak – “but the rich”

The youth structure of businesspeople is concerned the pandemic will ruin economic life on the part of those who are already disadvantaged.

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Youth business council warns poor won't have anything to eat after Corona outbreak -
BLEAK: The Black Youth Business Council says more support must be given to township businesses as they stand a chance of being permanently destroyed by the current Covid-19 lockdown. PICTURE BY Quartz

The Black Youth Business Council has said the Corona Virus outbreak will leave a lot of young people having nothing to eat.

The council said 40% of informal businesses owned by black youths are on the brink of “permanent” collapse due to measures introduced by government to try and contain the spread of the virus.

Council secretary Bethuel Zunguza said they were calling on other measures to be introduced and assist businesses owned by young people to not die.

“Otherwise the poverty in the country will worsen and the poor will have no choice but to eat the rich,” Zunguza said when he spoke to 013NEWS Friday 3 April 2020.

He said the “economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic” is going to worsen things in the townships.

President Cyril Ramaphosa on 23 March 2020 announced a 21-day lockdown starting from Thursday midnight 26 March 2020 as part of measures to combat the spread of Covid-19 that as of 7 April 2020 has infected over 1.3 million people worldwide and resulting in over 74 000 deaths.

The lockdown is expected to last until 16 April 2020.

Zunguza said youths in business are in a fight against poverty and should be supported not to fall hard during the turmoil caused by the pandemic.

He called on the “mainstreaming of youth, including strategies, programmes and funding” . 

“We as Black Youth Business Council we are calling on all relevant stakeholders to hold hands in support of youth in business and to ensure their enterprises survive the lockdown,” he said.

He added they were calling on young businesspeople to use the opportunity provided by the Debt Relief Fund and the SMME Support Intervention by the small business development department.

The fund is accessible by enrolling through the SMME South Africa on www.smmesa.gov.za

“We urge young people to adhere to measures which include a change in individual 

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behaviour and hygiene: washing hands frequently with hand sanitisers or soap and water for at least 20 seconds; covering our nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with tissue or flexed elbow and avoiding close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms,” said Zunguza.

He said his council is currently embarking on relief programs needed over the next couple of months, such as assisting in getting youths in business to apply for introduced intervention measures.

“We are planning to assist 100 youth in business that don’t not qualify for the government Debt Relief Fund, for example those in car washers, hair salon, small restaurants and Shisa nyamas in order for them to continue operating after the Corona pandemic”.

Small business development minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said over 2000 applications where received by the Debt Relief Fund within 24 hours of the system going live, while 81 000 small businesses had registered on the SMME SA database since the start of the lockdown.

(edited by ZK)

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