The KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA), Nomusa Dube-Ncube, said in a statement on Friday that she will be presenting a report to the Parliament portfolio committee on her department's progress.
According to Ncube, the report confirms that more than R19-million in funding has been approved through Operation Vula, a project focused on strengthening local economies that aims to prolong money circulation in townships and rural areas.
Ncube said: "We reiterate our focus on deepening the support needed by emerging entrepreneurs throughout the corners of the province.
"We have created instruments for microfinance in every district for small players in order to achieve true economic empowerment. Over the past week, a team of officials has been conducting the due diligence assessment of applications that are recommended for funding through Operation Vula.
"We can confirm that we received more than 3 582 applications for funding. Out of these, more than 137 applications have been approved for funding to the value of more than R19-million," she said.
The MEC explained how a lack of relevant documentation provided by the applicants has been problematic for her department.
"The common challenge that has been raised by the team conducting due diligence is that there are missing supporting documents on the applications. We are therefore requesting those who applied for Operation Vula funding to ensure that all the relevant documents are supplied to the officials who are currently conducting due diligence," said Ncube.
Ncube added that the EDTEA department has plans to empower small players in manufacturing through Operation Vula.
"Our focus is also on assisting small players in the Operation Vula commodities, such as paper and pulp, bakery, furniture, and clothing and textile. The support is also being extended to the small manufacturers of detergents and household chemical products. The total amount to be allocated to these small players is more than R5.4-million," she said.
Ncube added: "We wish to report that through the Enterprise Development Fund, we have spent R226-million in support of SMMEs with 3 284 jobs created. We spent R63.4-million supporting women-owned business and 1 382 jobs."
According to the MEC, 996 small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) have been assisted in registering their business with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC).
"We are stepping up efforts aimed at ensuring that even informal traders, hawkers and many of those involved in the informal economy have their business properly registered," said.