Total Shutdown and its Impact on Small Businesses

Following the State President’s announcement of the government’s plan of total shut down to the nation as a strategic means to curb the unprecedented contraction spread in the world and South Africa of the Corona Virus dubbed Covid 19.
We took to the streets to find out from various entrepreneurs operating in Soweto to gauge from them how the Covid 19 lockdown down government plan was likely impact on them and their businesses.
Ranging from informal unregistered businesses owners to established and registered small businesses in retail, manufacturing, tourism and hospitality, mechanics and transport, with different personalities, age, business type, maturity, experience and skill, the one thing they were united upon is their stoic acceptance and commitment to the necessity of the imminent shut-down except for essential services operators, being food supermarkets, spaza shops and pharmacies.
While concerned about the impact of the financial loss of the lockdown for 21 days and further, they nevertheless remain resolute in their understanding of the need to prioritize health measures, by the saving of lives and following protocol by remaining indoors and practicing social distancing to avoid the spread of the Corona Virus.
One even quoted a relevant Biblical verse in Isaiah 26:20 to express his Faith in God’s sense of provision now and in the future “Go into your houses, my people, and shut the door behind you. Hide yourselves for a little while until God’s anger is over”.
Nevertheless, the various business owners expressed the need for the government to communicate its message clearly and more visibly about the pandemic, relating to prevention and relief measures announced to be made available to small businesses. For example, by spreading the message on outdoor bill-boards in major roads.
At Orlando Industrial park small business operators there were concerned that the government through their landlord Sefa did not consult them, nor distributed any pamphlets or any form of comprehensive communication to them. But the idea that Sefa, through the Small Enterprise Development department having being reportedly the designated contact agent for accessing small business Covid 19 relief fund, left some with little confidence of mutual cooperation.
Considering that most of the businesses, despite operating for long periods, many amongst them, are remarkably low scale type of businesses, without the luxury of bigger balance sheets and large financial reserves often associated with larger companies.

Dumi Mkhabela Soweto Sunrise News

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