COVID-19 SMME Relief Packages: A Summary

There are quite a few COVID-19 relief funds available for SMME’s, it can be a little challenging to navigate and make sense of all of them. We spent the last few days speaking to as many of the relief package custodians as we could, in the hope that they could break down the details of each offer and help you, the entrepreneur, to make the best decision for your business.  We spoke to the following people and organisations, whose videos are all available on our YouTube channel:

Wed 1st April, Bridget Fury, Oppenheimer Generations:  We discussed the South African Future Trust

Click here for the full YouTube video

In short, the relief provided by the South African Future Trust (SAFT) initiated by the Oppenheimer Family:

  • The main aim is to relieve the cash-flow burden of paying salaries and to try and keep people employed
  • R1bn has been made available to SMMEs whose turnover is less than R25m per annum
  • The SMME must have demonstrated that they are impacted by COVID-19
  • The SMME must be financially stable (not in trouble before COVID-19)
  • Businesses will qualify for R750 per permanent employee per week for 15 weeks. The money is not available to Directors
  • The money will be paid weekly, directly to employees
  • This is an interest-free loan – repayable after 5 years
  • There will be no tax implication
  • Double dipping is allowed. Business may apply for SAFT relief AND other relief funds

Please visit for more information and qualifying criteria.

Listen to the audio translation of  this fund in isiZulu, isiXhosa and seTswana, here

Thursday 8th April, Sisa Ntshona, CEO of SA Tourism: We discussed the Tourism Relief Fund Summary

Click here for the full YouTube video

In short, the relief provided by the Department of Tourism is:

  • Once-off capped GRANT of R50,000 to SMME’s in the tourism value chain
  • 1 grant per entity. The grant can be used to subsidise expenses towards fixed costs, operational costs, supplies or other cost items
  • Allocation of funds will be guided by Tourism BBBEE Codes of Good Practice
  • Applicants must have a turnover of less than R5mill per annum

Categories eligible to apply for the Tourism Relief Fund include the following:

  • Accommodation establishments: Hotels, Lodges, Bed and Breakfast (B&B’s), Guest Houses and Backpackers.
  • Hospitality and related services: Restaurants (not attached to hotels); Conference venues (not attached to hotels); Professional catering; and Attractions
  • Travel and related services: Tour operators; Travel agents; Tourist guiding; Car rental companies; and Coach Operators
  • Tourism grading must be in place or applied for
  • To be eligible companies must have or be
    • CIPC registered
    • Tax compliant
    • Relevant industry certified
    • BBBEE certificate or affidavit
    • Business profile
    • Applications open on 

Applications close on 31 May 2020 Dept will revert within 30 days. Email queries to  

Thursday 9th April, Estienne de Klerk, South African CEO, Growthpoint Properties: We spoke about the Retail Tenants Relief Package 

Click here for the full YouTube video

In short, the relief provided through the Retail Tenants Relief Package by the Property Industry Group is:

  • The value of the relief package is estimated between R2bn and R3bn
  • A list will be made available of all participating Landlords
  • Tenants should engage with Landlords directly to activate this relief for themselves 
  • The current package is intended only for retail tenants in good standing at 29 February 2020, even retailers in office or industrial parks will qualify.
  • Office, Industrial and Hospitality tenants will be dealt with by Landlords on a case-by-case basis
  • The relief is offered in the form of a rental discount or deferral for April and May per category of Retailer, the focus being on SMME’s as per Department of Trade and Industry definition of annual turnover less than R80m (see detailed relief package table in info document
  • ‘Rental’ refers to rental, operational costs and parking rent. However, rates and taxes, utilities and insurance remain payable in full.

Thursday 9th April, Tumi Sefolo, Executive for Direct Lending and the Small Enterprise Development Agency: We spoke about the Department of Small Business Development’s  SMME Debt Relief Fund and SMME Business Resilience and Growth Fund 

Click here for the  full YouTube video

In short, the relief provided by The Department of Small Business Development: 

Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SEFA) is the implementing agency of the SMME Debt Relief Fund and the SMME Business Resilience and Growth Fund for the Department of Small Business Development (DSBD). They have received 10 000 applications and on 9th April they approved their first round of funding for the Business Growth Fund. It is important to note: 

  • Both these relief funds are loans and not grants.
  • The assistance will be a loan at prime -5%, repayment terms will be decided on an individual basis based on the cashflow projections
  • General qualifying criteria:
    • Registered with CIPC as at 29 February 2020
    • 100% owned by South Africans and employ 70% South Africans
    • Tax compliant and UIF registered
    • Documents required will be proof of the above as well as copies of ID documents of directors and cashflow projections and 3 months bank statements.

Qualifying SMME’s can only apply for one of the relief options below:

Business growth and resilience fund

  • This R300m facility is exclusively to assist existing businesses (SMME’s) that are experiencing increased demand for products or services due to the impact of COVID-19. 
  • Particularly those who manufacture (locally) or supply various products that are in demand.
  • The maximum amount that businesses can apply for is R15 million, but they are willing to look at working capital requirements of less than R200 000.

SMME Debt Relief fund.

  • The R300m Debt relief fund is aimed at providing relief on existing debts and repayments, to assist SMMEs during COVID-19. 
  • This facility will also assist entities to acquire raw material, pay labour and other operational costs
  • Maximum amount per application is R500,000 and applications for less than R200,000 will be considered.

Register at   

Use these email addresses for queries on applications:

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