COVID-19 Resources for Small Businesses in South Africa

It is without a question one of the most uncertain and anxiety-provoking times for small business owners to be living through. Economies are on shut down, people are not leaving their homes, shops are being forced to shut down. Times are certainly tough. Question on everyone’s mind is: “for how long will this last and will I survive this?”.

Well, one cannot for certain answer these questions, but what we can do is provide you with as much information and resources that are out there to help you overcome this patch in your business life.

No matter how stressful the situation is or how your business is being affected by the coronavirus economic pandemic, we want you to know that Fundrr is here for you and we are in this TOGETHER. That is why we have done all the homework for you and created this list of useful resources that you and your business may utilize.

SA Government Announcements:

  • We have officially entered a 21-day lockdown whereby our nation will not be allowed to leave their homes unless to go to necessary destinations (pharmacies, hospitals, supermarkets etc.) See the full list of dos and don’ts here
  • This 21-day lockdown begins on Friday 27 March 2020 and will go on until Friday 17 March 2020 (unless extension measures will be put in place)
  • No businesses are allowed to operate during this 3-week period unless they fall under the banking sector, insurance sector, government sector, security sector, and other essential services. See the full list here

SA Reserve Bank Announcements:

  • Lesetja Kganyago, the governor of the South African Reserve bank has announced on 19 March 2020 that the repo rate (the rate at which banks lend money from the reserve bank) will decrease by 100 basis points (1%) and take it to 5.25% per annum. This means, that in turn, the prime interest rate will follow in time to come. See full story here
  • SA Reserve Bank is set to purchase an undisclosed amount of government bonds on the secondary market to inject further liquidity into South Africa. See full story here

Tax Relief Schemes:

  • The president of the Republic of South Africa has announced that companies can hold back 20% of their PAYE liabilities over the next 4 months to help ease their cashflows. See full story here
  • Businesses may also defer a portion of their provisional corporate income tax payments without penalties or interest over the next 6 months. This too is done to assist businesses with cashflow constraints during these tough economic times. See full story here
  • It is very important to note that in order to qualify for the above-mentioned benefits, a business MUST be up to date with payments and fully tax compliant. To see the status of your tax compliance, one can find it on SARS eFiling here
  • The government too has proposed an additional R500.00 per month for the next 4 months per qualifying employee in the private sector. This will be led by the Employment Tax Incentive (ETI) and will be aimed at supporting qualifying employees who earn below R6,500.00 per month on a sliding scale based on salary. For more details click here
  • The government has proposed to utilize the Temporary Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) to allow South African businesses to carry on paying their employees and to avoid retrenchments. This is great news for business owners as salaries are usually a big portion of a business’s expenses. The will be in the form of wage payment and be paid the workers directly.
  • There will be a reduction in employer and employee contributions to the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) and Skills Development Levies (SDL). This is still being investigated and we do not have full details as of yet. See full story here

Funding, Loans and Financial Assistance:

  • We are amazed to see the unity of our nation and how everyone is coming together during these tough times. Standard Bank, Nedbank, FNB and ABSA have allowed payment holidays on loans to their customers. To find out more about these products, please contact your banking provider and they can provide more information.
  • For any business that is operating within the manufacturing and supplying of hygiene and medical products, will be allowed to access the Business Growth and Resilience Facility. This is a facility created by the South African government to offer working capital, stock purchasing finance, bridging finance, order finance and equipment finance to small businesses that product, manufacture, supply or import products such as sanitizers, detergents, tissue papers etc. The entity must be 100% South African owned, 70% of their employees must be South Africa and the entities must be registered and compliant with South African Revenue Services (SARS).  See full story here
  • The SMME Relief Finance Facility will provide loans to existing businesses in distress due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The facility will be for a period of 6 months starting from 1 April 2020. The entity must be 100% South African owned, 70% of their employees must be South Africa and the entities must be registered and compliant with South African Revenue Services (SARS).  See full story here
  • For businesses that have a facility already in place with the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA), they will be allowed to access a SEFA Debt Restructuring Facility. This is a payment holiday/moratorium that will be given to the businesses on their current loans for a period of up to 6 months.
  • Fundrr will still be open for business as we believe that now is the time when small businesses in South Africa will need funding the most. We are committed to helping small businesses and help uphold the South African economy. If you require financial assistance, please click here and you will be able to apply online in minutes and receive an answer within 24 hours.

CRM and Team Connectivity Tools:

  • There are many customer relationship management (CRM) tools that are available on the internet for free for companies to use at their disposal. Just because the office is closed, it does not mean that the communication of your team or closing of deals in the pipeline should come to a halt. See post here for a list of CRM tools that your business can implement (both free and for a fee) with reviews to help you find the right one for your business.
  • Communication between you and your team can be done online these days. It is very important to not treat these 21 days as a holiday, but rather carry on working on motivating your staff and try to achieve as much as possible remotely. You can make use of the following platforms to allow you to have video or voice chats with your employees: Skype, Google Hangouts, Zoom.

These are tough and testing times for us business owners. We have to stick together and ride the tide. This will be over and only the strong businesses will survive, we have to make sure that we all fall under this category.

We hope this list helps and please give us feedback or ask us any questions as we are always here.

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