Africa-Press – South-Africa. Cape Town – Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Nomalungelo Gina has described the July unrest as the worst time in the country’s history and a dark period.
She said the country has now walked through that darkness and it was time to rebuild the economy.
Gina, who is briefing the National Council of Provinces on the impact of the unrest in the economy, said her department allocated more than R3.5 billion to businesses in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
This was after many small businesses were destroyed during the violence.
She said some of the businesses were in the townships and thousands of people stood to lose their jobs.
The department and its entities had to find mitigating ways to reduce the impact of the destruction.
Gina said the money that was allocated was able to save 44 000 jobs, especially in the retail sector.
However, she said this was the darkest period in the country.
“The July unrest represents the worst chapter in our history. It is a setback, it is still a setback to us. It sent our economy into a tailspin. It affected a lot of township-based businesses and thereby it affected massive job losses, especially in the retail sector. Our immediate response to reverse the worst effects was informed by this appreciation of mitigation to the crisis. We take a leaf from one of the renowned authors Leon Brown that ‘Be brave, you won’t see the light at the end of the tunnel until you walk through darkness.’ I think this is the darkness as a country we have walked through,” said Gina.
“I think this is the darkness as the DTIC we have walked through with all our entities. I can assure you honourable members we are towards the end of that tunnel. We are seeing glimmers of light in front of us,” said Gina.