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.
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 your 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.
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 Oppenheimer’s 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
How the SAFT will distribute funds:
The Oppenheimer’s are not directly involved in distributing the funds. They have handed it over to the trust, and this is how it will work:
- 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
Although applications only formally open from Friday, April 3, you can start preparing 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
Once the application process is complete, and if your loan is approved, it will take up to seven days after signature of the loan agreement for the first week’s payments to be deposited into your employee/s’ account/s, dependent on the day that the signed loan agreement was received.
In addition to this relief measure, Mary Oppenheimer has donated R1 billion to the Solidarity Fund, along with her daughters Victoria, Rebecca, Jessica and Rachel.
CURRENT STATUS: You will be able to apply directly with your bank.
For further information about SAFT please refer to the following link: https://opp-gen.com/saft/