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IMPORTANT NOTICE: Update on government support for SMEs

Thursday, 30 April 2020  
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Small business owners can call 0860 663 7867 or email to find out what kind of 
government support they qualify for during the lockdown.




17 August 2020: The Department of Sport, Arts and Culture will be rolling-out two processes to implement a second wave of sector relief.  More here (Please note applications are open until 11 Sep 2020)

22 July 2020: Employment and Labour Ministry announces extension of relief payments until August 15 in Budget vote. The Employment and Labour Ministry today announced an extension to the COVID-19 TERS relief payments that it has provided to ordinary workers in this country to shield them from the worst effects of the pandemic. More here


26 May 2020: Workers ineligible for UIF can now claim TERS benefit. Read more


25 May 2020: President Cyril Ramaphosa's announcement of the move to level 3 lockdown on June 1 brings with it the opening of most sectors of the economy as well as the relaxation of a number of regulations which governed the movement of individuals under levels 4 and 5. Read more


20 May 2020: Interpretation of regulations pertaining to sole proprietors, creative individuals, craft persons wishing to operate under the level 4 lock down. Read here


14 May 2020: All online shopping now allowed Read more

"Effective today & subject to all applicable laws, all goods will be available for transaction through e-Commerce platforms with the exception of liquor & tobacco, which have been expressively prohibited for sale to the public during Alert Level 4." - Minister Patel


14 May 2020: Minister of Small Business Development Khumbudzo Ntshavheni has gazetted directions to assist micro and small businesses trading in permitted services, to comply with the regulations. Please follow the link below to read the full Gazette: Read here

12 May 2020: Small businesses – and ones with an annual turnover of up to R300 million – can now apply for special government-backed Covid-19 loans from South Africa's commercial banks. Read more


25 April 2020: COGTA, DTI Ministers media briefing on Risk-Adjusted Strategy: LEVEL 4.
Watch here 

See the details on the risk adjusted strategy here:


22 April 2020: READ IN FULL: President updates the nation on Covid-19 relief measures
President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced a R500bn support package for SA.
Read the full speech here



Keep up to date here:



Please see here for a compiled list of relief options - click here


Another useful live guide to all funding available:


Small businesses in SA can register for help during the coronavirus disaster

Registration is now open: the Department of Small Business Development has made over R500-million available immediately – accessed via a simplified application process  to assist small and medium enterprises that are in distress.


Guidelines for application: Debt relief finance scheme and business growth/resilience facility - See the PDF here

Go to:


How to register as an essential service

Application page:


Many people have been asking how those businesses not registered with CIPC can get an essential services permit - please click here to download the Affidavit , which we have been forwarded, that can be now be used - it will need to be completed and signed by a commissioner of oaths.



Frequently asked questions on how to prevent and manage COVID-19 infections in the workplace


Gauteng-based informal businesses

This site below intended for you to register as a informal business in Gauteng Province seeking a permit to operate within the lockdown period. 

Go to:

Gauteng Province also has on-line phone-based licensing platform - it geolocates traders. This is for for all traders (allowed to operate) and issues a phone-based license.


Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda)

Join the SmartXchange COVID-19 Innovation Challenge. The innovative technology solutions should focus on 3 specific verticals: Business, Labour and Community.

To participate follow this link:
*Please note the deadline was 28 April 2020





IDC’s Corporate Plan has allocated approximately R3 billion for disbursement in the next quarter. This will be supplemented by an additional R700 million from the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition's Manufacturing Competitiveness Enhancement Programme (MCEP) facility to support working capital and machinery and equipment for the supply of critical goods. IDC will be reprioritising funding towards efforts to support the response to COVID-19, such as R500 million for trade finance to support the importation of critical supplies and targeted sector initiatives.

NEF to manage R200 million COVID-19 Intervention Fund


The National Empowerment Fund (NEF) is managing a R200 million COVID-19 Intervention Fund on behalf of the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition.

The fund has been set up to assist manufacturers providing such items as:

Medical Gloves and Accredited Masks
Diagnostics and Accredited test kits
Bulk supplies of disinfectants, sanitizers (hand and industrial) and wipes
Nebulisers and nebulising agents
Ventilators and filters
Disposable visors, googles, gowns and aprons
Packaging (bottles, caps, pumps, sachets etc)
Drugs proven to combat the coronavirus
Digital Body Thermometer
Powered Air purifying respirator (PAPR)
Sanitary pads, toilet and tissues paper
Manufacturing of hospital beds
Manufacturing of oxygen
Related chemicals



Department of Tourism


The Department of Tourism has made an additional R200 million available to assist SMMEs in the tourism and hospitality sector who are under particular stress due to the new travel restrictions. This is amongst the interventions they believe will help to cushion our society from economic difficulties.

The application window for the Tourism Relief Fund will close on 31 May 2020.


Read more

Apply here


Tax and PAYE

Provisional tax

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.

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.


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

Unemployment Insurance Fund


A total of R30 billion has been allocated to a special National Disaster Benefit Fund, which will pay Unemployment Insurance Fund benefits for up to three months to qualifying workers whose income has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.


Easy-aid guide for employers for UIF benefits:


The Minister of Employment and Labour has announced measures that the Department will put in place as required under the current special circumstance relating to the Corona virus (COVID-19) and its impact on UIF contributors. The Unemployment Insurance Fund will compensate affected workers through a new “National Disaster Benefit” and its existing the Illness, Reduced Work Time and Unemployment benefits.  This new “National Disaster Benefit” and any other normal UIF benefit is only applicable to employers who are registered with UIF and make monthly contributions as required by the Contributions Act of 2002. 

Read more in the PDF



Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme 

The employer can apply for relief in terms of TERS but will need to meet the relevant criteria.


Ters was launched in December last year and is aimed at assisting businesses who face temporary constraints that will result in retrenchments. The allowance will be in the form of a wage payment directly to employees. This should support SMEs and other vulnerable firms who are faced with a loss of income to provide support to workers.


Should the application be granted the employer will then receive funding via the Unemployment Insurance Fund which will then need to be utilised to pay wages / salaries.


For guidance See here


See the Department's PDF here


Proudly SA - support for manufacturing

Proudly South Africa is soliciting applications from companies that find themselves facing particular supply chain challenges at this time, which may be threatening productivity. They are referring qualifying companies up to the dti for assistance.

Read more here



Compensation Fund


Any employee who falls ill through exposure at their workplace will be paid through the Compensation Fund.


Lease Agreements During COVID-19 Lockdown 

New rental relief measures announced on 07 April 2020 will amount to as much as 100% off for some retail tenants.


Department of Sport, Arts and Culture


1. The Department of Sport, Arts and Culture (DSAC) has finalised the process to identify beneficiaries of a R150 million relief fund, set up to assist artists and athletes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please note the deadline for Arts and Culture sector relief fund applications has been extended to 06 May 2020.


2. Request for proposals for the appointment of companies to provide the various services to the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture for a period of three months. Read more here
*Please note that the closing date was 09 April 2020


Western Cape - WESGRO


For Entrepreneurs in the Western Cape – Wesgro ( is hosting a COVID-19 Content Centre for Business. Get real-time support and advice for business and industry, including FAQ’s across sectors. 


City of Cape Town


In response to the COVID-19 crises, the City of Cape Town is aggregating resources to a central portal on






A COVID-19 Small Business Relief Centre was launched by the National Small Business Chamber to assist small businesses during this crisis. With the collaboration of experts in various business fields, this centre hopes to help small businesses weather the current coronavirus storm successfully.



COVID-19 resources and information list: for artists and arts organisations in South Africa


This is a set of (mostly) free COVID-19 resources to support creatives and creative organisations in the visual art sector and the creative and cultural space. This is a live, ongoing work in progress list of resources.



South Africa Future Trust


Funded by the Oppenheimer family, SAFT makes available R1bn in loan funding. It will provide payroll support to companies with a turnover of less than R25 million. The money will be paid out directly as interest-free loans to employees of businesses with a turnover of less than R25 million a year. Employees themselves will not be liable to pay the money back, but companies will be. This funding will be administered by Nedbank, Standard Bank, Absa and FNB.


Who qualifies for SAFT funding support:


  • Businesses with an annual turnover less than R25 million
  • Businesses that are existing business banking customers; those holding their primary transactional account with Standard Bank, Absa, FNB and Nedbank can apply directly with their respective Banks.
  • Business has been trading for at least 24 months
  • Be a financially stable business as of 28 February 2020, with no dishonours, unpaids prior to this date, and in good standing with all existing loan repayments.  

Read more


Sukuma Relief Programme - Business Partners to administer R1 billion fund

Richemont chair Johann Rupert’s R1 billion donation will be distributed as loans via the small company funder Business Partners. Read here 


*Please note - temporarily suspended: Just days after applications opened for the Sukuma Relief Programme – an initiative aimed at supporting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that are financially impacted by COVID-19 – the fund has been oversubscribed, with applications for financial assistance far exceeding the current available capital of R1 billion. This includes both completed applications and applications in progress. See here



Business and Arts South Africa


BASA has expanded the scope of its Supporting Grants programme. While the existing opportunities for funding for arts organisations and business sponsors are still available, eligibility is now extended to support South African creatives infected or affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Supporting Grants programme offers a slightly different lens to conventional funding and development agencies in that our focus is normally on amplifying and extending existing partnerships between arts and businesses that aim to meaningfully impact society through shared value and social cohesion. However, the widespread cancellation of festivals, music concerts, exhibitions, productions and other events in the wake of COVID-19 is nothing anyone could have anticipated, and it's clear that the impact on the creative sector will be devastating.

To this end, BASA will consider applications from individual artists for once-off, short-term Jnancial aid for COVID-19-related medical care and/or prescription medicines. The aid can also be used to offset the loss of income due to the cancellation of conJrmed engagements, as a result of the nationwide lockdown or other emergency measures.



South African banks


South Africa's major banks have introduced various measures to assist consumers who are impacted financially by the coronavirus disaster and the 21-day lockdown intended to curb its spread.



CCMA Information Sheet on various COVID-19  benefit options that are available - see here


See ABSA's useful list of relief programmes and their intended target markets here


Step-by-step guide to registering your business as an essential service - see Fin24 here


EY Finance Navigator helps startups to assess the financial impact of COVID-19 on their companies. Therefore, they are offering three months of free access. See here


From Yoco: The COVID-19 Small Business Guide
The Yoco guide to surviving a pandemic. Their resources, events, and downloadables
for small business owners in one place.

COVID-19 Survival Guide - Marnus Broodryk launches FREE eBook: Download it here

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