Original Research

Assessing the impact of policies in sustaining rural small, medium and micro enterprises during COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa

Tshililo R. Farisani
The Southern African Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management | Vol 14, No 1 | a505 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajesbm.v14i1.505 | © 2022 Tshililo R. Farisani | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 December 2021 | Published: 09 December 2022

About the author(s)

Tshililo R. Farisani, Graduate School of Business and Leadership, College of Law and Management, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa; and, School of Management, IT and Governance, College of Law Management, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa


Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has persistently threatened the survival of rural livelihoods everywhere in South Africa. This may have adverse effects on the implementation of policies and strategies that support rural small medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs). Rural-based local institutions and their policies play major roles in sustaining rural SMMEs and livelihoods during disasters and yet there is little research to provide future directions.

Aim: This article aims to contribute to an understanding of the impact of the implementation of present and past SMME policies in sustaining rural livelihoods during disasters in South African rural municipalities.

Setting: This research focussed on institutions and their policies in the Jozini Local Municipality and Matatiele Local Municipality. These rural-based local municipalities in South Africa were chosen as relevant case studies for this study because of their experiences with frequent fire and drought crises or disasters.

Methods: The study employed a qualitative research methodology. In line with the interpretative paradigm, a social network analysis, together with one-on-one interviews, were chosen as research instruments for the collection of data from two rural municipalities. NVivo 12 was used for data analysis.

Results: The findings of the study revealed that, while policy and legal frameworks are in place to support SMMEs, in reality, very little support (during disasters) trickles through to rural-based SMMEs.

Conclusion: The conclusions drawn from this study revealed that, in the absence of provincial and nationally based institutions to ensure the implementation of their policies, rural SMMEs established alternative processes to sustain their SMMEs during disasters.


SMME policy implementation; socio-economic crisis; collaboration; rural; SMME sustainability


Total abstract views: 1738
Total article views: 1683


Crossref Citations

1. The financial legislative role and capacity of municipal councillors at Ulundi Municipality
Sandile M. Khomo, Tshililo R. Farisani, Pfano Mashau
Africa’s Public Service Delivery and Performance Review  vol: 11  issue: 1  year: 2023  
doi: 10.4102/apsdpr.v11i1.691