The SMME Council is an independent membership-based organisation representing professional bodies, business associations and small business chambers with the purpose to advocate for transformation of the South African economy.
It aims to create an environment in which small businesses in all sectors can thrive, expand and be competitive. It claims to be the only organisation tasked with ushering in a new dawn in business and industry, and the organisation represents small business interests without putting race and gender at the task.
According to Sunday Independent, Bidvest – which has a market recapitalisation of R50 billion – had offered to disinfect schools and give sanitisers free despite the government’s earlier announcement that it would give schools a budget to pay unemployed locals and entrepreneurs to render the same services.
The Sunday Independent also stated that Bidvest would supply 2 899 sanitisers and stands to 500 schools.
Musawenkosi Zulu, the chairperson of the SMME Council, told the newspaper that the Bidvest donation was a sign that the government had sidelined emerging entrepreneurs in favour of big business.
“We are not only disappointed, but we are very angry at our government because they are not only making a fool out of the SMMEs (small, medium and micro enterprises) but they are making a fool out of the citizens,” Zulu said.
“With Gauteng, the first thing we were angry about was that instead of working with independent schools owned by SMMEs, they worked with Curro. Now you have this which is coming as a donation. There is no such thing as a donation. You will have the government working with them again.”
Bidvest chief executive designate, Mpumi Madisa told the newspaper that the initiative was a donation to schools to assist the Gauteng Education Department ahead of grades 7 and 12 pupils returning to classrooms.
Gauteng MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi insisted that Bidvest Prestige had no financial benefits from their “social responsibility gesture” to the government.
“There is no underhand dealing, a lot of corporates are responding positively to the government call for assistance.”
For more read: Bidvest and government slammed over Covid-19 donation