The fake news claim from AfriForum and their followers that the government's recently announced support for small and medium businesses is contingent on 51% black ownership has been ferociously debunked. However, few have yet pointed out that the relief measures are discriminatory in other ways and are in crucial ways counter-productive.
Right now, there are only five Covid-19 objectives that matter: 1) Flatten the curve - slow down the spread of the virus so the healthcare system can cope. 2) Cushion the blow to the economy and businesses. 3) Ensure the provision of essential services. 4) Promote unity, empathy and social solidarity. 5) Protect the most vulnerable.
Ensuring the survival of small businesses through the lockdown is essential to every one of those goals. The announcement from Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni that relief funding would be made available to help businesses through this challenging period came as a lifeline for fearful employers, and employees.
But it came with a catch: Only if your business is 100% South African-owned and only if it employs at least 70% South Africans.
What is the rationale for these criteria? They undermine South Africa's ability to effectively respond to this unprecedented emergency.
The funds will help...