South Africa: 'Fake News' - Claim of Racial Ownership Requirements for COVID-19 Relief to Small Businesses Is False, Says Govt

(file photo).

Claims circulated on Tuesday that the relief measures proposed by the government would only help small businesses that are at least 51% black-owned and exclude those without a favourable transformation profile. Turns out that this wasn't true. But priority will be given to local, tax compliant businesses.

A day after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a nationwide shutdown and relief measures to support small businesses during the coronavirus or Covid-19 crisis, the Department of Small Business Development's website crashed for many hours.

Without a functioning website belonging to the custodian of small businesses in SA and the limited flow of credible information, a misinformation campaign can easily find fertile ground on social media. And it did on Tuesday.

The department was criticised on Twitter for allegedly imposing racial ownership requirements on small businesses that want financial assistance from the government to cushion the blow of the impending national shutdown that Ramaphosa declared on Monday 23 March. Ramaphosa announced the three-week shutdown, which kicks in from midnight 26 March, to contain SA's Covid-19 outbreak. Infections have passed the 500 mark.

Various misinformation peddlers claimed the relief measures proposed by the government would only help small businesses that are at least 51% black-owned...

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