Dec 2022 edition

Sauce maker is back in business after floods

Written by Owen Mngadi

Small businesses that were destroyed by the devastating April floods in KwaZulu-Natal have been thrown a lifeline by the Department of Small Business Development.

When the floods swept through the province, causing billions of rands in infrastructure damage and killing over 450 people, small businesses in Durban and Stanger on the province’s north coast were hardest hit. Some lost everything and had to start from scratch, while others lost their equipment and stock. 

After an assessment in July 2022, the department set aside an emergency flood recovery fund of R50 million for formal businesses and R10 million for informal businesses.

Claims for relief funding by businesses ranged fromThabisile Shange received emergency flood recovery funds after her business was destroyed by floods.
R10 000 to R1.6 million. While some claims were still being processed, the department recently handed over equipment to 44 small businesses in Durban, at a cost of R19 million.

Among those affected was Thabisile Shange (47), the owner of Incasa Foods, an agro-processing business that manufactures sauces and pastes. The business is located in Warwick Triangle in the Durban central business district, where many informal and small businesses operate. The area was badly affected by the floods.

The floods hit barely a month after Shange had received a R1.5 million machines from the Agribusiness Development Agency (ADA) to support the growth of her business. She says the water was above knee level in her workshop and her equipment was damaged beyond repair.

“I had to go back home and use the smaller machine I had been using before I received support from the ADA, but it proved to be unsustainable. I could not meet the demand and the domestic machines would break because they were not made for high-volume production. But I had to continue paying the permanent staff and also ensure that I kept the market I had established,” she says.

Fortunately, the Department of Small Business Development, through the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA), was quick to appoint a service provider to install Shange’s new equipment.

“Small and informal businesses play a key role in ensuring every household has bread on the table. The government will make sure that all those who lost stock due to floods are assisted to get back into business. The other normal programmes to help small businesses are still available and we encourage people to apply for assistance,” said  Minister of Small Business Development Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams during the handover ceremony.

Incasa Foods employs 15 people, 10 of whom are interns employed through the Food and Beverages Manufacturing Sector Education and Training Authority.

For more information about the Food and Beverages Manufacturing Sector Education and Training Authority visit

For more information about the SEDA visit

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