Back by popular demand! After a raft of emails dealing with various relief measures and some personal reflections, we have taken a much needed moment to catch our breath. From a business perspective, I am pleased to report that our team are doing really well having adopted to this “new normal” way of working.
The purpose of this update is to do a stock-take of the various relief measures available. Our communication to date has covered many of the measures that could be of use to the majority of our clients. We will summarise those measures – with updates of new developments – as well as a quick insight into any new measures (see below). Clive Stewart has prepared an article on the private sector initiatives. Sadly, one of those funds is already oversubscribed. It illustrates the point that although many of the relief measures have allocated amounts that are individually large, the needs are vast and those resources do not go far when measured against the many businesses that are in need of support.
Another point that is emerging in our interaction with clients is that many of these measures involve some form of debt. For businesses that were healthy prior to the Covid-19 lock down and simply require some liquidity to survive the immediate economic challenges, these measures will provide welcome breathing space. However, for those businesses who were already in distress prior to the crisis and/or whose business models are radically altered, addition of further debt may compound an already precarious position. We will be happy to have a discussion with business owners who find themselves in such a position.
In the interactions I have been engaged in so far, the importance of access to a defensive level of liquidity is often highlighted. One of the practical difficulties can be how to achieve such liquidity – certainly one of the priorities of the relief measures.
As stated previously, if you feel this communication would be helpful to someone in your network you are welcome to share. If, on the other hand, you would like to stop receiving these emails, please simply reply to the mail with the word “STOP” and we will remove you from the list.
Have a great day!
Covid-10 Summary of South African Relief Measures
By Peter Cottrell CA(SA)
Guidance given to date (with updates)
1. Debt Relief and Business Resilience
a. Guidance given per post 30 March 2020
b. Visit https://smmesa.gov.za
c. Further information:
- Funding will be in the form of a loan facility, bearing interest at Prime -5%, with repayment terms and conditions to be structured according to the funding needs of the business.
2. Tax Measures
a. Guidance given per post 31 March 2020
b. No further updates
3. Unemployment Insurance Fund Benefits
a. Updated guidance given on Temporary Employee / Employer Relief Scheme (TERS) per post 14 April 2020.
b. Further information:
- There are a number of other options open to employers during the lock-down period and beyond.
- Labourwise have published an excellent article which sets out information on the various options available – https://www.labourwise.co.za/labour-news-teazer/guide-to-uif-and-other-covid-19-options-updated-30-march-2020
- One of the benefits of the TERS arrangement is that employees do not have to fill in forms and it keeps physical contact to a minimum. However, the scheme is not suitable in some situations and it is recommended that appropriate HR advice is obtained as appropriate.
Further relief available
4. Private sector initiatives
The Rupert and Oppenheimer families have set up funds to support businesses and employees respectively. Please refer to Clive Stewart’s article.
5. Solidarity fund
This fund was seeded with a donation of R150 million from the State, with further donations having been made from the private sector. The objective is to support vulnerable South Africans and to contain the spread of Covid-19. The fund will be privately administered under the governance of professional managers. The fund is requesting support from the general public, stating that donations will be tax deductible. For more information visit https://www.solidarityfund.co.za.
6. Other measures
There are a raft of other measures available which are more specialised in their application. These include:
a. Industrial Development Corporation and National Empowerment Fund interventions;
b. Tourism Relief Funding (this is in the form of a grant, but the terms of compliance; appear to be quite onerous for the amounts involved);
c. Taxis and small businesses (spaza shops);
d. Sport, arts and culture;
e. Agriculture; and
f. Banks, offering various measures of cash flow relief and extended loan terms for customers who were in good standing and are impacted by the Covid-19 Pandemic.
The Durban Chamber of Commerce has prepared an excellent guide that summarises the various measures available, including a summary of funding criteria, funding structure, sector specific information and application process. The guide may be downloaded from https://edge.durban/dataset/65a7ee48-0245-44ae-914d-660330967e46/resource/1240140b-8708-4b7b-a53b-6d3dad2cb078/download/business-relief-funds-for-covid-19.pdf
We will continue to keep you updated of any significant further developments in these areas.