Durban – Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa (CCBSA) has provided support totaling almost R700,000 to assist five small business owners to help them get back on their feet following the impact of the 2021 civil unrest and the floods which devastated KwaZulu-Natal earlier this year.
CCBSA’s Regional Public Affairs, Communication and Sustainability Manager, Nolundi Mzimba said the company had given the five business owners, all CCBSA customers, brand new Bizniz-in-a-Box containers to restart their businesses, start-up stock in the form of groceries and CCBSA products, as well as equipment such as refrigeration units. The total value of the assistance is R675,000.
The recipients received the containers and supplies on Friday 29 July during a handover ceremony attended by the eThekwini Municipality.
Small business owners often bear the brunt of unforeseen and cataclysmic events, not having the inherent macroeconomic resilience of large corporates who are covered by insurance and have access to supply chains to quickly resume business operations.
Nonhlanhla Magama ran Thembi’s Cheap Cheap Chicken, selling roasted chicken, alongside hot chips, amagwinya (vetkoek), and beverages.
She said: “The struggle began after looting when I lost many customers because they lost their jobs, and when I was trying to recover, the floods came which affected me the most because I was using a Wendy house and the water came in, destroying most of my equipment, including the equipment for the roasting of chicken and the fridges.”
Magama said she and her aunts who worked in the fast-food outlet alongside her, were forced to halt operations.
Bazondani Mlambo, who owns BZ Snacks, selling fat cakes, freshly baked cakes, chips sweets, fruits, and cigarettes, had a similar tale of woe, saying the floods badly affected the business.
“We lost our equipment when it got destroyed by sand and rain. Most of our customers also lost their jobs, as well as their homes, and this affected the business sales.
“After the floods, we made a little table where we sold fat cakes, fruit and cigarettes to people who were passing by, but since it was winter, we weren’t able to always sell because it was cold and we no longer had a shelter.
“We were no longer able to provide for the family like before,” Mlambo added. “The relatives that used to help me had to stop because we can no longer pay them because we are not making any progress.”
Now Magama and Mlambo and three other SMMEs have been given a new lease on life through the intervention of CCBSA, to support themselves and their dependents, as well as their local communities.
Magama said: “CCBSA helped a lot by providing us with the container, equipment, grocery stock, and beverages. This gives hope that things will return to normal and I will be able to support my family, and I will be helping my community. With the support of my community, we decided to give to the needy all the daily leftovers.”
“I was providing for a family of 10 and we’re all dependent on this business,” she concluded.
Mlambo added: “This means a lot. Now we will be able to provide for our family of eight of whom only one works. We will have a shelter, and our stock will be protected and be kept safe. We can now also supply to the community, and we can create job opportunities for my relatives, so they will be able to provide for their families too.”
CCBSA also ran a competition in KZN recently in conjunction with Inanda FM and two young entrepreneurs each won a Bizniz-in-a-Box container valued at over R80,000 each. Siyabonga Zulu and Wandile Makhanya also received their new businesses on 29 July.
Mzimba said: “We know the devastating impact the floods have had on so many communities in KwaZulu-Natal, coming so soon after the civil unrest as well as the Covid-19 pandemic. Our first responsibility was to help save and preserve lives and CCBSA donated close to R3 million in aid and other support to help relief efforts and to provide food, clothing and shelter.
“But now we have to see how best we can help rebuild lives and restore people’s dignity and ability to make a living and support themselves and their dependents.”
Government, the business sector and civil society are presently working to rebuild the province where critical bulk infrastructure related to sewerage and water, as well as roads, were severely damaged. Provincial Premier Sihle Zikalala has been leading Government’s accelerated recovery and reconstruction programme to help the economy recover.
The support for the SMME sector will form a vital part of rebuilding the province and supporting livelihoods.
eThekwini Municipality Councillor Muzikayise Thusi said: “The support of the small business sector is key to stimulating economic growth and helping people back onto their feet.
“We know that a single SMME supports a number of livelihoods through income as well as job creation and this support initiative by CCBSA plays a critical role in this regard. We would ask all corporates to see how they can support the SMME sector.”