1. Sukuma Relief Fund

2. Oppenheimer Family South African Future Trust

3. Bank Finance Options

1. Sukuma Relief Fund

Current status: Temporarily closed as a result of the high volumes of applications.

Q: What is it and who is it for?

A: R1 billion funding for SA SME’s from the Rupert Family and Remgro

For formal sole proprietors, the fund offers a grant of R25,000 per qualifying business to be used to pay for overheads.

Close corporations, companies, and trusts can apply for financial aid in the form of an unsecured interest-bearing loan of between R250,000 and R1 million, coupled with a non-repayable grant of R25,000 per qualifying business.

Q: How does the funding and repayments  work?

A: The funding will be made available to smaller businesses in the form of a grant, which means there will be no repayment obligations.

The loan portion will be interest-free for 12 months with no repayment obligations during this period.

For larger businesses, there will be a loan component which will have to be repaid at some point in the future.

Read more here.

Q: Do I qualify?

A: To qualify, businesses must provide evidence of financial activity prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, be tax compliant, and abide by the necessary regulations.

Q: How do I apply?

A: Visit https://finance.businesspartners.co.za/

The application forms for businesses which require funding are available at the links below.

2. Formal sole proprietor

Close corporations, companies, and trusts


Oppenheimer family – South African Future Trust

Current status: You can apply directly with your bank.

Q: What is it?

A: The Oppenheimer family have made R1 Billion available to South African SMES to allow those of you who are suffering from short-term cashflow constraints to continue operations during this time of crisis, whilst retaining your employees.  

For more information visit https://opp-gen.com/saft/

Q: How does it work?

A: The funding will be distributed via the Oppenheimer’s newly created South African Future Trust (SAFT), a public benefit organization, and will be paid out directly to your employees as interest-free loans:   

  • employees themselves will not be liable to pay the money back, but your company will be  
  • there is no minimum monthly payment requirement; the loan only needs to be repaid at the end of the period. 
  • there will be no interest payable for a five-year (60 month) period, and the loan is subordinated to other pre-existing loan agreements
  • should your business be unable to repay the loan, SAFT will work closely with you to ensure that repayment plans are in place, which are sustainable for your business 

Employees do not apply directly for this fund. Employers will apply for the benefit of their employees. Employee recipients will also carry no financial liability, and any payments made by SAFT to the employees will be free and clear of income tax. Should you be approved, you will enter into the loan agreement with SAFT.  

Q: Do I qualify?

A: Funding is currently available to you if your business was financially sustainable before the COVID-19 pandemic and you bank with either Absa, FNB, Nedbank and/or Standard Bank - all of which have waived their normal fees to manage the SAFT scheme. SAFT and the Oppenheimers are currently working with other banking institutions to extend the scheme.   

To be eligible for support, your business will need to meet the following criteria:  

  • not make more than R25 million per year  
  • the ability to demonstrate the impact of COVID-19 on your operations now, or in the future 
  • have been trading for at least 24 months  
  • your accounts must be in good standing as of February 29, 2020 
  • you are not able to pay or retain permanent employees 

Q: How do I apply?


  • SMMEs must contact their bank and ask for access to SAFT support  
  • bank will redirect you to a portal and employer must fill in their name, their company name, VAT number, PAYE number etc.
  • then redirected to another page to list employees you want supported, and provide their ID numbers – banks will match these to individuals using Home Affairs
  • bank will source bank details of individual, and payments will be made to their accounts a day or a day and a half later
  • employees will receive R750 a week for 15 weeks  
Prepare your application by getting the following information ready: 
  • company registration number (if you have a company or a close corporation), or  
  • the master’s reference number (if applying on behalf of a trust), or  
  • identity number and business address (if you are a sole proprietor)  
  • names and ID numbers of all directors / members / trustees / sole proprietor  
  • PAYE number (if applicable)
  • income tax number
  • a list of the full-time employees to receive relief with the full names, ID number, bank account details and contact details 

3. Banks

A number of South African banks have announced payment relief measures to assist small businesses during the COVID-19 crisis. See below assistance offered by various banks:

  • Standard Bank
    Standard Bank is offering a range of options to support small businesses, such as a payment interruption scheme on business loans, and three-month instalment for personal loans of small business owners. If you are not eligible for these options, you can contact the bank to see how they can assist you. Read more

  • Absa Bank
    Absa has launched a payment relief programme offering, among others: relief for consumer, business banking and wealth customers; bespoke solutions for corporate and business banking clients; and the waiving of additional administration fees. Read more

  • First National Bank
    First National Bank is offering qualifying customers instalment cash flow relief, a preferential interest rate and no fees on COVID-19 relief interventions, individualised bridge facilities for those who need it, among others. Read more

here to read  all the COVID-19 relief measures announced by South African banks thus far.

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