Start-up business owners will be able to access affordable loans through a R500 million jobs fund launched in Johannesburg on Friday.
The Sebenza Fund, a collaboration between Anglo American and the Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA), is expected to create 8 000 jobs within three years.
Zimele, Anglo’s developmental arm, and DBSA channelled R250m each towards the fund, which is aimed at boosting businesses owned particularly by young people and women in disadvantaged areas.
The fund provides growing businesses with loans at a preferential 6 percent, with Zimele undertaking surety and ownership of assets until the loan is repaid.
The Sebenza Fund, which means “to work” in Zulu, is an opportunity for mining companies and the government to work together towards finding a solution to unemployment.
“We want to set a good example by partnering with the government and ensuring that locals on the floor level where it matters most are creating new jobs,” Mark Cutifani, the chief executive at Anglo, said on Thursday on the sidelines of an enterprise conference in Johannesburg.
South Africa has a 24.7 percent unemployment rate, and although this is down to 4.66 million from 4.72 million in the previous three months, it remains a challenge.
Cutifani noted that mines had a finite life and that Anglo planned to help improve infrastructure, so “they can stand on their own two feet long after the mines have shut”.
Cutifani cited the National Development Plan, saying its ultimate goal was to reduce unemployment 14 percent by 2020 and 6 percent by 2030, meaning 11 million jobs were needed and the economy needed to grow by 5.4 percent.
“If mining had grown over the last seven years instead of contracting, we would be heading toward the 5.4 percent growth target,” he said.
Anglo invested R800m in more than 1 400 small businesses that have employed 25 000 people since 2008, Cutifani added.
Vusi Seroka, the owner of Vista Wa Seroka Mining Solutions in Middelburg, is one of the beneficiaries of Zimele. He was able to grow his business, which services Anglo mines, to 37 permanent and 15 temporary employees.
“I received a R1.5m loan over three years from Zimele, which I have used for things like acquiring assets and paying my staff,” Seroka said.
Kashiefa Jappie, the owner of Safaz Signs and Electrical, a construction and signage business in Cape Town, said she had received R1.4m from Sebenza and R350 000 for the purchasing of equipment.
“Unlike banks where you struggle to access funds because you have to give up your house as surety, Sebenza has helped my business with an unsecured loan.”
Jappie, who was awarded a contract by the Department of Public Works to maintain schools, employs 32 full-time and 550 part-time staff.
“My loan structure is 12 months pay back. I pay them on time. I don’t want [to] be a bad payer because they won’t help me in future projects.”
Jappie said she had received R2.5m from Zimele since last year.
The Sebenza would extend its funding beyond communities in mining areas, Lia Vangelatos, the acting head of Zimele, said on Friday.
Over the past three months, seven businesses had received funding from Sebenza worth R14.5m. Meanwhile, 602 permanent jobs had been created primarily in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg, Vangelatos said.
The beneficiaries are chosen based on the viability of their business idea and its potential to create sustainable permanent jobs.
“This (Sebenza Fund) is good for the country,” Vangelatos added.
“More needs to be done in the space of creating new jobs.”