Government will launch a website where businesses can report the damages they incurred during the devastating July riots.
The Sunday Times reports that the portal will go live on Monday 13 September and will ask affected businesses to quantify the loss they have suffered.
“We have talked to various authorities, as well as the short-term insurers and the banks, but we realise there are still huge gaps in the information we have on the extent of damage suffered by businesses, including micro businesses such as spaza shops operating from people’s houses,” said National Treasury deputy director-general Ismail Momoniat.
“We want to see the extent of the damage, so we can make more informed decisions about whether government should review the support mechanisms currently in place — or improve the support facilities.”
Treasury has allocated R3.75 billion towards supporting business affected by the riots, as well as for other related economic efforts.
However, government needs more information about which businesses were affected, as well as the financial implications they face, so that these businesses can resume their processes.
“It matters a lot in terms of local communities,” said Momoniat.
“The businesses that suffered damage were often providing crucial lines of supply and services to households in their areas.”
Sabric CEO Nischal Mewalall warned in August that the effect of the July riots will far exceed the direct impact they had on businesses.
Mewalall explained that millions of rand that was stolen during the riots was not dye-stained, meaning this money is likely to have been injected back in the economy and used to fund organised crime.
“This money is the proceeds of crime and there is now a war chest available to fund more organised crime, to corrupt more officials and to promote lawlessness,” said Mewalall.
The riots were believed to have impacted at least 1,227 ATMs and 310 bank branches, and Mewalall said it was deeply concerning how national intelligence was not prepared for these mass attacks.
“There is great concern over the impact of intelligence failures and the state’s response to the eight consecutive days of civil unrest that resulted in unprecedented destruction of banking infrastructure in South Africa,” said Mewalall.
“The theft of R119,400,243 in hard cash is very concerning.”
Following the impact of the July riots, there have been concerns that those who instigated the civil unrest in the name of former president Jacob Zuma would do so again.
Such a situation was predicted for 23 August, and the South African Police Service (SAPS) prepared accordingly, but the threat did not come to pass.
“The public is urged not to respond to calls for violence and criminality and is discouraged from participating in activities that seek to defy the rule of law,” said Police Ministry Spokesperson Lirandzu Themba.
Private security firms like Fidelity were also prepared for renewed rioting, and these teams worked with their customers on contingency plans should future unrest occur.