by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG – WITH unemployment rising and the economy reeling from the recent unrest, a concerted public-private partnership (PPP) could be the boost needed to rebuild South Africa.
Disturbed by the widespread riots that left at least 40 000 South African businesses looted, and approximately R50 billion rand (about US$3.5 billion) of property damaged, some entrepreneurs have joined forces to help reconstruct the livelihoods of locals affected by the unrest.
Malcom Daitz and Ariel Kolin, Co-Chief Executive Officers of weFix, have decided to contribute to a transformational partnership with Restore SA to steer the rebuilding.
They believe- with an unemployment rate also at more than 34 percent – the government will require such a partnership and the guidance of skilled South Africans to rebuild.
The Restore SA initiative, started by Joshua Cox of Fix Forward, focuses on connecting entrepreneurs whose businesses were looted or damaged, with volunteer mentors offering support and guidance.
Restore SA has already managed to bring on-board over 100 mentors to offer support to affected businesses.
More mentors are expected in the next few weeks.
The Restore SA fund aims to go beyond providing support in the short term but will continue to assist and grow the businesses on an ongoing basis.
A website has been created where business owners or mentors can
Each small business that signs up will receive 1-to-2 hours of free mentorship per week for at least two months.
WeFix has committed funding towards the initiative by dedicating 10 percent of the value of each trade-in received by weFix to the Restore SA fund.
The fund will be managed by a partner non-profit organisation, Ranyaka Community Transformation, which will identify the businesses needing support and oversee the disbursement of funds.
“We want people to contribute towards the cause by trading in their devices, knowing that it is going towards rebuilding,” Daitz said.
“We want people to feel that they can be part of the solution, which is to rebuild SA businesses and get them back on their feet again after the losses they have suffered. Each and every little bit helps,” he added.
The unrest in July was the worst form of anarchy in post-independence South Africa. Over 300 people were killed during the violent protests.
“Many small businesses have to start again from scratch,” Cox explained.
He noted the informal economy employs millions of people and in a
country plagued by high levels of unemployment, Daitz argues businesses must rebuild in order to prosper.
“Across the nation, South Africans are heartbroken at the devastation which has unfolded (looting). Men and women with various skills want to support these business owners as they rebuild,” Cox said.
WeFix has pledged to offer the best price for used, new, old or even broken devices, which can be of use to rebuilding businesses.
Collection is free nationwide.
“In the process, you will be helping small businesses at the same time as putting some extra cash in your own pocket,” Daitz concluded.
– CAJ News