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IMPORTANT NOTICE: Update on government support for SMEs

Tuesday, 24 March 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.


Read: Minister Ntshavheni on the three relief measures for SMMEs during the COVID-19 pandemic at the Inter-Ministerial Briefing: Page 1 and Page 2


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


01 April 2020:

From Power FM: Minister Ntshavheni speaking about Debt Relief and other support measures provided to SMMEs during and after COVID-19 pandemic. Listen here


Keep up to date here:


Small businesses in SA can now 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.

Go to:


Department of Sport, Arts and Culture


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.


The criteria for accessing this support, the identification of beneficiaries and the mechanism through which the relief fund will be managed has now been finalised.




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.


Read more


Taxpayers who earn less than R6 500 a month will pay R500 less in income tax every month for four months.

SMEs with a turnover of less than R50-million and tax-compliant:

May defer 20% of their prospective pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) liabilities over the next four months; and

May defer a portion of their provisional corporate income tax payments without penalties or interest over the next six months.

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.


Read more


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.



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





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


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. Details are still expected. Read here


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.


Useful tips for SMMEs


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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