COVID-19 Announcements

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For employees

Workmen’s Compensation Fund

Any employee who falls ill through exposure at their workplace can claim from the Compensation Fund. Strict criteria must be met in order to claim from the Compensation Fund. You can claim from the fund if the employee acquired COVID-19 while performing his/her occupation. Occupationally-acquired COVID-19 diagnosis relies on the following:

  • Occupational exposure to a known source of COVID-19;
  • A Reliable diagnosis of COVID-19 as per the WHO guidelines;
  • An approved official trip and travel history to countries and/or areas of high risk for COVID-19 on work assignment
  • A presumed high-risk work environment where transmission of COVID-19 is inherently prevalent; and
  • A chronological sequence between the work exposure and the development of symptoms.

Last updated on 17 April 2020

For employers

Temporary Employee Relief Scheme (TERS)

TERS is a special dispensation for entities who have ceased their operations, partially or in full, during the lockdown period, as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through this, employees will receive wage payment through the Temporary Employee Relief Scheme, which will enable companies to pay employees directly during this period and avoid retrenchment. The minimum relief is R3 500 per employee per month, whereas the maximum TERS relief is 38% of R17 712. For more information please click on the link.

  • The UIF TERS benefits were initially for the period 27 March to 30 June 2020, and were subsequently extended to 15 August 2020. The benefits were further extended from 15 August to 15 September 2020.
  • Applications for the March to May 2020 period can be submitted until 25 September 2020. Applications for June close on 15 October 2020. Applications for July to 15 September 2020 close on 30 October 2020.

Last updated on 15 September 2020

Tax subsidy for Employee Tax Incentive (ETI)

A new tax subsidy of R750 per month for four months, beginning 1 April 2020 and ending on 31 July 2020, for employees earning below R6 500 per month. This tax subsidy is applicable to all qualifying employees (including those who are no longer eligible for the normal ETI) and is between 18 and 65 years of age. This revised subsidy would need to be incorporated in client’s payroll system.

Last updated on 23 April 2020

Employment tax incentive refunds

SARS to accelerate employment tax incentive reimbursements from twice per year to monthly.

Last updated 3 April 2020

PAYE & Provisional corporate income tax

Tax compliant taxpayers with a turnover of less than R100 million (Qualifying Taxpayers) will be allowed to delay 35% of their PAYE liabilities over the next four months, beginning 1 April 2020 and ending on 31 August 2020. The deferred PAYE liability must be repaid to SARS in equal instalments over the six-month period commencing on 7 October 2020 and ending on 5 March 2021.

Qualifying Taxpayers will also be allowed to delay a portion of their provisional corporate income tax payments without penalties or interest:

  • The first provisional tax payment due from 1 April 2020 to 30 September 2020 will be based on 15 percent of the estimated total tax liability,
  • The second provisional tax payment from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021 will be based on 65 percent of the estimated total tax liability;
  • Provisional taxpayers with deferred payments will be required to pay the full tax liability when making the third provisional tax payment in order to avoid interest charges.

Last updated on 15 September 2020

Possible temporary reductions

Businesses with a turnover of more than R100 million a year, that can show they are incapable of making payment due to the COVID-19 disaster, can apply directly to SARS on a case-by-case basis for deferrals of their tax payments without incurring penalties.

Businesses with gross-income of less than R100 million, that can show they are incapable of making payment due to the COVID-19 disaster, can apply for an additional deferral of payments without incurring penalties.

Last updated on 23 April 2020


From 1 May employers will be given a 4-month holiday (non-payment) for companies’ skills development levy contributions.

Last updated 4 May 2020

Carbon Tax

Taxpayers who are required to file carbon tax returns will be given a 3-month delay for filing and first payment of carbon tax. The filing and payment date will be delayed to 31 October 2020

Last updated on 23 April 2020


VAT refunds will be fast-tracked. Smaller VAT vendors that are in a net refund position will be temporarily permitted to file monthly VAT returns, instead of once every two months, thereby unlocking the input tax refund faster and immediately helping with cashflow. SARS is working towards having its systems in place to allow this in May 2020 for Category A vendors that would otherwise only file in June 2020.

Last updated on 23 April 2020


The tax-deductible limit for donations (currently 10 per cent of taxable income) will be increased by an additional 10 per cent for donations to the Solidarity Fund during the 2020/21 tax year.

To alleviate the cashflow difficulties of employees where their employers contribute to the Solidarity Fund on their behalf, Government is proposing a special relief measure by temporarily increasing the current 5% tax limit in the calculation of monthly PAYE of the employee. An additional limit of up to a maximum of 33.33% for three months or 16.66% for six months, depending on an employee’s circumstances, will be available. Awaiting further details to be announced.

Last updated on 27 April 2020

Excise taxes on alcohol and tabacco products

Payments due in May 2020 and June 2020 will be deferred by 90 days for excise compliant businesses to more closely align tax payments through the duty-at-source system (excise duties are imposed at the point of production) with retail sales.

Last updated on 23 April 2020

Implementation of some Budget 2020 measures postponed to 1 January 2022

Implementation of some Budget 2020 measures postponed to 1 January 2022: The 2020 Budget announced measures such as (i) restricting net interest expense deductions to 30 per cent of earnings; and (ii) limiting the use of assessed losses carried forward to 80 per cent of taxable income. Both measures were to be effective for years of assessment commencing on or after 1 January 2021, but will be postponed to at least 1 January 2022.

Last updated on 23 April 2020

Access to living annuity funds

Individuals who receive funds from a living annuity will temporarily be allowed to immediately either increase (up to a maximum of 20 per cent from 17.5 per cent) or decrease (down to a minimum of 0.5 per cent from 2.5 per cent) the proportion they receive as annuity income, instead of waiting up to one year until their next contract “anniversary date”. This will assist individuals who either need cash flow immediately or who do not want to be forced to sell after their investments have underperformed.

Last updated on 23 April 2020

Waiving of penalties for tax debt

Businesses that are incapable of making tax payments due to the COVID-19 disaster, may apply to defer tax payments without incurring penalties.

Qualifying requirements:

  • A taxpayer must have serious financial hardship which must be attributable to the effects of the COVID-19 disaster;
  • The effects must be substantial and material;
  • The taxpayer must prove to SARS that a payment arrangement is required because of the impact of COVID-19 only and if taxpayer succeeds, then the remittance of penalty will be considered.

Last updated on 12 May 2020

Essential Services

COVID-19 Essential Services and Permits

All businesses are expected to close during the lockdown period. Only those businesses providing essential services as defined may operate during the lockdown period.

Businesses providing essential services must ensure that the absolute minimum number of staff necessary to safely operate these businesses, are at work.

Registration for essential services:
All businesses providing essential services are required to seek approval from the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the DTIC) in order for them to trade during the period of the lockdown. The registration portal is only for registered companies operating in South Africa.

Businesses are required to apply to the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) Bizportal website at and obtain a certificate from the Commission that allows businesses to continue trading. Supplying incorrect information is a criminal offence and will lead to prosecution.

Healthcare professionals registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa, sole proprietors who provide essential goods and services and small-scale farmers will not have to register through the Bizportal. Agricultural unions have also assisted farmers with the required documents.

Informal traders (not registered under the Companies Act) will need to acquire written permission from their municipal authorities.

Documents needed for movement in the course of trade during the lockdown period:
New certificates are issued from Friday, 17 April 2020. Certificates which were issued during the initial 21-day lockdown period will no longer be valid from 16 April 2020. A new certificate can be downloaded from the Bizportal website.

The certificate can be used as evidence to authorities requiring same that the business has been given government permission to trade and that its employees are able to have unrestricted movement ONLY in the course of that trade.

Each employee who will be travelling for work is required to have with them (A) a Permit with the information of the Company/Employer and the information of the relevant employee (Full names, ID). This permit must be signed by the Head of the business, together with (B) his/her ID document or other form of identification.

List of Essential services:
The complete list of essential services can be viewed on:

Last updated on 17 April 2020

Relief funding for business

Banking sector

The Department of Trade and Industry has authorised relief in the banking sector for certain Competition Commission regulations. The exemptions will allow banks to work together which will help small businesses, consumers and firms in distress. Various relief measures have been announced by the banks. Contact your local banker for details.

Last updated 3 April 2020


The Department of Small Business Development made R 500 million available to distressed SMEs. Registration is now open for small and medium-sized businesses that require help during the coronavirus crisis as well as for businesses geared to take advantage of supply opportunities resulting from the coronavirus or shortage of goods in the local market. Please click on the link for more details.

Last updated 2 April 2020

Black Industrialist Scheme (BIS)

This scheme is administered by the DTI and is providing grants on a cost-sharing basis. The scheme has made available maximum funding of R50 million per entity. Please click on the link for more information.

Last updated 2 April 2020


The Industrial Development Corporation, together with the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition have committed R3 Billion to a range of funding products in support of business to address vulnerable firms and for companies critical to fighting the virus and its economic impact. For more information please click on the link.

Last updated on 2 April 2020

Tourism Relief Funding

The Department of Tourism has made an additional R200 million available to assist SMEs in the tourism and hospitality sector who are under particular stress due to the new travel restrictions. For more information on qualification criteria as well as funding please find below the link for more details. Capped at R50 000 per entity

Last updated on 1 July 2020

Informal sector support

A safety net is being developed to support persons in the informal sector. Further details to follow once published.

Last updated 29 March 2020

Agro-Processing Support Scheme (APSS)

This scheme is administered by the DTI and was established to support agri-businesses. This scheme has made available a maximum funding limit of R20 million per entity based on 20 to 30% grant on capital cost. For more information please click on the link:

Last updated on 2 April 2020


This fund is administered by Business Partners (Rupert Foundation & Remgro). This fund has committed R900 million for financial assistance for working capital requirements. Loans of between R250,000 – R1,000,000 be made available on beneficial terms.

  • An additional R100 million is committed for sole proprietors and partnerships and administered by PWC.
  • Applications for funding are temporarily suspended.

Last updated on 15 April 2020

SA Future Trust (SAFT)

This fund was created in support of SMME employees at risk of losing their jobs or who will suffer a loss of income due to the coronavirus. The Oppenheimer’s has provided R1 Billion to this trust to assist SMME’s, with an annual turnover of below R25 million, with an interest-free loan. Entities must be an ABSA, FNB, Nedbank or Standard Bank client and registrations is directly through the SMME’s respective bank.

Last updated on 2 April 2020

Loan Scheme

R200 billion loan scheme to assist affected medium and smaller businesses in paying out salaries and other expenses. Companies with turnovers of less than R300 million a year will qualify for the loan. The loan guarantee scheme will be in partnership with the major banks, the National Treasury and the South African Reserve Bank.

Last updated on 22 April 2020

Interest Rates

The Reserve Bank regularly lowered interest rates from January 2020 to July 2020.

Date of rate change  Repo rate  Prime overdraft rate 
17 January 2020  6.25%   9.75% 
20 March 2020  5.25%  8.75% 
15 April 2020  4.25%  7.75% 
22 May 2020  3.75%  7.25% 
24 July 2020  3.50%  7.00% 

Last updated on 17 September 2020

Social relief

Solidarity Response Fund

A Section 18A fund was set up to help deal with the fallout of the coronavirus, and measures to slow its spread. Individuals and businesses can contribute to this fund.

Last updated on 2 April 2020


The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) grants for pensioners and people with disabilities to be paid early.

Social relief measures announced by President Ramaphosa amounts to R50-billion over a period of six months. The President has announced a R300 increase to the child support grant for May, as well as an additional R500 per month from June until October. Government will also provide an additional R250 increase for all other social grant beneficiaries for the next 3 months. A special R350 grant for unemployed people, who do not receive any other form of state support, will also be paid over the next six months.

Within the next few days, a tech-based system will be rolled out to provide food via vouchers and cash to those who need it most. Furthermore, the Department of Social Development is working with NGOs, the Solidarity Fund and others to distribute 250 000 food parcels across the country.

Last updated on 22 April 2020

Rental Relief

New rental measures announced will amount to as much as 100% off for some retail tenants.

The newly-formed Property Industry Group on Tuesday announced an industry-wide assistance and relief package to be rolled out by local landlords.

The initiative is principally focused on supporting affected small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs), however, it also provides relief and assistance to all other retail tenants and is set to be rolled out by landlords nationally.

According to the group, rental includes rent, operating costs and parking rental; however, it excludes all rates and taxes and utility cost recoveries, as well as insurance, which all tenants will be required to pay in full for April and May 2020.

“Of course, each landlord can use their discretion in the relief and assistance that they give a retail tenant, but the property industry package stipulates the minimum that qualifying retailers can expect,” the alliance noted.

In some cases, it will mean rental charges for the current month are withdrawn completely

The Property Industry Group was established at the end of March in a bid to coordinate the industry’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

It comprises the major representative bodies for real estate in the country – the South African Real Estate Investment Trust (SA Reit) Association, the SA Property Owners Association and the SA Council of Shopping Centres.