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In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the South African Government declared a National State of Disaster on 15 March 2020. The findings of the pre-lockdown Covid-19 National Small Business Survey, which were released by the National Small Business Chamber (NSBC) shows deep economic challenges for small businesses. However, a variety of funds and relief measures are available to businesses (and individuals) in various sectors. This list is by no means exhaustive.

SMME Relief Finance Scheme
The Debt Relief Finance Scheme for existing businesses in distress due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The relief will be for a period of six months, from 1 April 2020. Softloan funding will assist distressed small companies with funding. The Business Growth/ Resilience Facility is aimed at small companies which can take advantage of supply opportunities resulting from the coronavirus pandemic or a shortage of goods in the local market. Website:
Unemployment Insurance Fund
As part of the special Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme (TERS), administered by the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), money will be paid out to workers in distressed companies. The amounts paid will be a percentage of an employee's salary, according to a legislated sliding scale from 38% (for the highest earners) to 60% (for the lowest earners). The maximum benefit is R6 730 a month. Email: Website:

Tax Measures
The draft explanatory notes regarding the COVID-19 tax measures can be found on the National Treasury ( www.treasury. and South African Revenue Service (SARS) ( websites. SARS to accelerate the payment of employment tax incentive reimbursements from twice a year to monthly to get cash into the hands of compliant employers as soon as possible. Companies can claim back up to R1 500 a month per employee who earns less than R6 500 (for those younger than 30), and R500 for those 30 and older. Tax compliant businesses with a turnover of R50 million or less will be allowed to delay 20% of their employees' tax liabilities over the next four months and a portion of their provisional corporate income tax payments without penalties or interest over the next six months. Instead of paying 50% of their expected tax bill after six months into the tax year, and settling the full amount at the end of the tax year, provisional taxpayers only have to pay 15% after six months, and another 50% by the end of the tax year. Then, by 30 September 2021, they need to pay the balance.

Customs' Duties
Rebates on customs duty and VAT concessions on the importation of "essential goods" as defined in the regulations issued under the Disaster Management Act are available. A list of the qualifying goods is available on the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC). However, in order to claim customs duty relief under item 412.11, the importer will need to obtain an import certificate (permit) from ITAC. Website:
Spaza Shops

Government's new support scheme for spaza shops will give them funding to buy stock and assure bulk-buying discounts at approved wholesalers. But the spaza shops need to be registered with the SARS, the Unemployment Insurance Fund, and the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC).
R200 million made available to assist SMMEs (Annual turnover must not exceed R2.5 million) in the hospitality and tourism sector who are under stress due to the new travel restrictions. 70% of the relief will be to Black owned businesses with a bias towards rural areas. Website:
IDC Funding
The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) has allocated billions in emergency funding to help manufacturers with working capital, as well as for companies in agriculture, tourism, energy, and vehicle components manufacturing. Email: Website:
South Africa's banks have announced individual measures to assist clients, with some offering three-month payment holidays on home loans, vehicle finance, personal loans, and credit cards. The

Oppenheimer Family
The R1 billion made available by the Oppenheimer family will be paid out directly to employees of small, medium and micro-sized businesses as interest-free loans. Employees themselves will not be liable to pay the money back, but companies will be. The typical loan amount per employee is expected to be around R750/week, for a period of 15 weeks. Currently, the money is available to clients of Absa, First National Bank, Nedbank, and Standard Bank, and limited to businesses which were "financially sustainable" before the coronavirus crisis.


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