Covid-19 crisis funding:
Where to apply and what are the qualifying criteria?

In recent weeks, the South African government and various private sector players have implemented interim measures to curb the immediate and longer-term effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on business and industry.

At this moment, funding relief measures are not available for all sectors. However, to make the process easier for small business during this unprecedented time, we have this “funding directory” to assist in making your search easier.

Department of Small Business Development: Debt Relief Finance Scheme

 Industry and purpose: 
All businesses which are negatively affected, directly or indirectly, due to the Coronavirus pandemic. 

 Funding amount: R500 million made available 

 Qualifying criteria: 

  • The business must have been registered with CIPC by at least February 28, 2020 
  • The company must be 100% owned by South African citizens 
  • 70% of employees must be South African 
  • Priority will be given to businesses owned by women, youth, and people with disabilities 
  • Business must be registered and compliant with Sars and UIF 
  • Seda will assist micro-enterprises to comply; requests for assistance must be emailed to 
  • Small and medium enterprises must ensure their own compliance 
  • Must be proof that the business is negatively affected by the Covid-19 pandemic 
  • The online application must be complete 
  • Company statutory documents 
  • Fica documents (e.g. municipal accounts, a letter from traditional authority) 
  • Certified ID copies of directors 
  • Three-months bank statements 
  • Latest annual financial statements or latest management accounts not older than three months from date of application – where applicable 
  • Business profile 
  • Six months cash flow projections – where applicable 
  • Copy of lease agreement or proof of ownership if applying for rental relief 
  • If applying for payroll relief, details of employees – as registered with UIF and including banking details – will be required as payroll payments will be made directly to employees 
  • SMME employers who are not compliant with UIF must register before applying for relief 
  • Facility statements of other funders 
  • Detail breakdown on the application of funds including salaries, rent, etc. 

Department of Small Business Development: Business Growth/ Resilience Facilities

  • You must submit the same documents as above
  • Estimations for funding requested
  • Relevant industry certification – where applicable

The South African Future Trust (Saft)

(known as the Oppenheimer family fund)

 Industry and purpose: An initiative aimed at supporting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that are financially impacted by Covid-19 

 Funding amount: Businesses will qualify for R750 per permanent employee per week for 15 weeks. The money is not available to directors 

Qualifying criteria: 

  • Operating for 12 months 
  • The assistance will be a loan at prime -5%, repayment terms will be decided on an individual basis based on the cashflow projections 
  • The directors and the business must have a good credit score 
  • The maximum amount that businesses can apply for is R15 million, but it’s willing to look at working capital requirements of less than R200 000 
  • Business trading for 12 months plus 
  • Annual turnover of less than R25 million 
  • Must have been a sustainable business on February 29, 2020 
  • Adversely affected by Covid-19 
  • Company registration documents 
  • A valid PAYE number registered with Sars (if applicable) 
  • A valid income tax number registered with Sars 
  • Confirmation of permanent employment status of staff 

The Department of Tourism

 Industry and purpose: Accommodation establishments such as hotels, resort properties, bed and breakfasts (B&Bs), guest houses, lodges and backpackers. Hospitality and related services which are restaurants (not attached to hotels), conference venues (not attached to hotels), professional catering, and attractions.
Travel and related services such as tour operators, travel agents, tour guiding, car rental companies, and coach operators 

 Funding amount: R200 million is available; the grant is capped at R50 000 

 Qualifying criteria: 

  • Turnover of less than R5 million 
  • Businesses in accommodation, hospitality, services within tourism 
  • Financial statements 
  • Negatively impacted by Covid-19 
  • Operating for at least one year or more 

Property Industry Group: Retail tenants relief package

 Industry and purpose: Intended to assist large retail tenants hardest hit by the Covid-19 lockdown.

 Funding amount: The value of the relief package is estimated between R2 billion and R3 billion.

 Application Process: Apply via landlord 

 Qualifying criteria: 

  • Retail tenants in good standing at February 29, 2020 
  • Retailers in office or industrial parks qualify 
  • No funding will be given funding for rates and taxes, utilities and insurance 
  • The relief is offered in the form of a rental discount or deferral for April and May 
  • Annual turnover of less than R80 million 
  • Aims to avoid retrenching staff during the relief period

National Empowerment Fund (NEF): Black Business Fund

 Industry and purpose: Funding for black entrepreneurs to manufacture medical products to help SA flatten the curve of the virus.

 Funding amount: R200 million is available. You may apply from R500 000 to R10 million
The loans are offered at 0% interest for the first year and thereafter at 2.5% per year, repayable over a maximum term of 60 months.

Phone: 011 305 8080

 Qualifying criteria: 

  • Be a registered legal entity in South Africa in terms of the Companies Act, 2008 (as amended); the Close Corporations Act, 1984 or the Co-operatives Act, 2005
  • Be a taxpayer in good standing with a valid tax clearance certificate at assessment and before the loan is disbursed
  • Be a current and registered supplier with retailers and other institutions in good standing or have a purchase order/contract/letter of intent
  • Require working capital or funds to purchase machinery and equipment
  • The fund will not service any debt or help settle monies owed
  • Have greater than 50% black shareholding and management control. Must be directly involved in the day-to-day running of the operation and must have the requisite expertise in the sector
  • In line with the NEF’s transformation mandate, preference will be given to applications that demonstrate meaningful black women ownership, management and control
  • Have a project with a minimum requirement of R500 000 in working capital, machinery and equipment
  • Must result in retaining or increasing direct jobs
  • Submit all relevant documents for commercially viable applications

The Department of Labour: UIF and National Disaster benefit

 Industry and purpose: It is only applicable to employers who are registered with UIF and make monthly contributions as required by the Contributions Act of 2002. 

 Funding amount: The benefits an employee may receive from the C-19 Ters range from R3 500, being the national minimum wage, to a cap of R6 730.56 – the maximum of 38% of the R17 712 salary cap (as provided for in the Unemployment Insurance Act).

 Qualifying criteria: 

  • Where a company shuts down for a certain period or implements reduced or short time 
  • Benefits payable is the difference between what the employer pays and normal UIF benefits payable should an employee lose employment 
  • Fill in the details of the business 
  • Fill in UI19 and UI2.7 (completed by employer) 
  • Fill in UI 2.1 (application) 
  • Get your bank to complete a UI 2.8 
  • A letter from the employer confirming reduced work time is due to Covid-19 virus 
  • Copy of ID document 

The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development

 Industry and purpose: To address the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and ensure sustainable food production 

 Funding amount: R1.2 billion is available 

 Qualifying criteria: 

  • Small-scale or communal farmer, with an annual turnover of between R50 000 and R1 million 
  • South African citizen 
  • Operate for a year or more 
  • In production season 
  • Be registered on the Producer/Farmer Register and commodity or provincial databases 
  • Priority will be given to businesses owned by women, youth and people with disabilities 
  • South African certified ID copy not older than three months 
  • Already farming 
  • Valid confirmation of land tenure/ownership (title deeds, tribal resolution, permission to occupy, minimum five years lease agreement) 
  • Application form completed 
  • Farming operation able to create permanent and/or seasonal jobs 
  • In cases where the environmental impact assessment (EIA) certificate is necessary for the operations, evidence of such to be provided 
  • Proof of access to water for irrigation in case of fruits, vegetables and winter crops (i.e. water licence/rights or proof that it had been applied for, borehole or other sources)


 Industry and purpose: Business in need of a loan

 Funding amount: Not specified

 Qualifying criteria: 

  • Business must be based in and registered in South Africa
  • The company must be VAT registered
  • Needs to make R500 000 in revenue a year

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