“Very difficult” – that’s how Hot Dog Café MD Derek Smith describes getting his project to meet national treasury’s Jobs Fund targets.
Treasury recently extended a number of the fund’s enterprise support projects and has revised job targets of others downwards, as the worsening economy has made it hard for many to meet initial targets.
Smith’s franchise was granted an extra 15 months to meet its target of creating 372 jobs through training and funding black youths to become franchisees. The Jobs Fund has committed more than R17.2m, with the franchisor contributing a further R18.2m, to set up 62 outlets. But by end-June, three months past the deadline, the project had created just 218 jobs.
Smith attributes this partly to last year’s power blackouts, which led many customers to stay away from malls where a number of the outlets operate. Treasury has since agreed to extend the project until June 30 next year. But now the slowing economy has begun to bite. The combined turnover of outlets was down 16% in May from the previous month.
For Curafin, which finances owner-driver schemes for seven firms through a R96m (half from the Jobs Fund) project, a 2014 strike prevented the project from meeting its job targets.
Curafin MD Brendan Nunan says the project was to have ended last year but that treasury has granted an extension until at least the end of next month, as the strike had delayed the purchasing of new vehicles