Government and private sector have launched interventions to support your business during the coronavirus outbreak.

On 22 April, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a set of new coronavirus relief measures. These include a R2bn support package for SMEs and spaza shop owners, a R200 billion loan scheme with banks, and expanded tax relief.

The situation is evolving fast. To stay up to date we suggest you regularly check our FAQ page for breaking updates on coronavirus SME support.

On this page we provide a summary of the relief schemes available to your SMME, plus additional resources.

To view full details of the financial relief options available, all in one place, check out our Covid-19 funding and support options guide.

You’ll learn more about each fund, eligibility, application process and criteria.

Jump to the section for more detail:

Get UIF benefits

SMEs can apply to the Unemployment Insurance Fund’s COVID-TERS  benefit to cover salaries.

Type of support:

  • Employees are paid on a sliding scale between 38% to 60% of their salaries.
  • The lower the salary the higher the COVID-19 benefit.
  • Companies apply on behalf of employees.

Additional reading: Applying for Coronavirus UIF Benefits? Here’s Everything Your SME Needs to Know

Defer your tax payments

Another way to increase cash flow is to defer your provisional and PAYE payments.

Provisional tax

Type of support:

  1. You can pay 15% of your total estimated taxable income for the tax year for your first payment. This is due from 1 April 2020 to 30 September 2020.
  2. You can pay 15%  of your tax payment for the second provisional tax payment. This is due between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021.

PAYE

Type of support:

  • SMES can defer 35% of their PAYE liability, starting with the payment due on 7 May 2020 and ending with the payment due on 7 August 2020.
  • SMEs will need to pay the deferred tax liability to SARS in equal instalments over six months. The first payment must be made on 7 September 2020

Additional reading: COVID-19 Support for South African SMEs: Do you Qualify for Tax Relief?

Government funds

A range of government departments have introduced coronavirus funds.

Department of Small Business Development

The Department has two funds: the SMME Relief Scheme and the Business Growth Facility.

Debt/SMME Relief Scheme

The Department of Small Business Development’s SMME Relief Scheme aims to help businesses cover expenses during the outbreak.

Type of support:

  • Soft-loan facility for six months
  • You apply for funds to pay salaries, rent, buy raw materials or municipal accounts
  • It opened in April 2020

Business Growth/Resilience Facility

Type of support:

  • The facility covers funds for working capital, stock, bridging finance, purchase order finance, and capital equipment finance.
  • The interest rate is at prime less % pa.
  • Terms will depend on SME cash flow.

Additional reading: Coronavirus Support for South African SMEs: List of Government Funds

Department of Tourism

The Department of Tourism has allocated R200 million to its COVID-19 Tourism Relief Fund.

Type of support:

  • The COVID-19 Tourism Relief Fund is once-off grant funding, capped at R50,000 per entity.
  • Funding can be used for fixed costs, operational costs, and supplies.
  • This fund is open from 7 April to 30 May.

Department of Agriculture

The Department of Agriculture has established an Agriculture Disaster Support Fund for smallholder farmers.

Type of support:

  • Grant funding capped at R50,000 per farming operation
  • Funding can be used to complete current production cycle
  • This fund is open until 22 April.

For more information, see this press release on the Agriculture Disaster Support Fund.

Private funds

The Rupert and Oppenheimer families have each donated R1 billion rand to help South African SMEs. Because the Rupert fund is no longer accepting applications, we will focus on the Oppenheimer fund, the South Africa Future Trust.

Eligibility:

Here’s an overview of the criteria:

  • SMEs must be an existing client of the fund’s partner banks: Absa, Nedbank, FNB, Standard Bank, and Mercantile Bank.
  • Annual turnover must be below R25 million per year
  • SMEs must be trading for at least two years
  • Should demonstrate link between business distress and COVID-19

For more information, please visit the SAFT website

Additional resources on coronavirus funding and support for SMEs

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