Dear Client,

With Lockdown mere hours away, if you are like me, it still seems surreal. As business owners we have been in disaster mode since the announcements came through so you are most likely forgiven for not having processed the full implications of the rather bizarre time we are entering into.

As stated in our previous brief, we will continually be sending updates as more information becomes available, obviously only pertaining to matters which have economic impact. To also reiterate, we are fully operational and our managers and staff are available during normal working hours. Key staff are being briefed as we go as to the various rules and regulations flooding through by the hour at the moment.
The following items of economic relief are available as at the time of writing.

The fund has been set up by the Department of Small Business Development to assist companies distressed under the COVID 19 Pandemic. Quite what they have on offer is unclear, and the registration website has been difficult to get onto.

Whilst they have yet to define the benefits they want to build their database of SME requests and are asking anyone who wants to be in line, to register. What is clear is that the company will be requested at a later date to define the loss that COVID 19 has and will have on the business in question.

Our suggestion is that any of our clients who have a Turnover of less than R50 000 000 should get registered and decide later what to apply for when the relief is more accurately defined. As we hold a lot of the entities details which would be required we have put Derane Pillay, who many of you know, in charge of registering clients who wish to be registered. This will streamline any applications which need to be made.

Should you wish us to proceed with any of your companies, you may email Derane at She will in turn revert with any other information she requires and will confirm your registration once complete.

Obviously one of everyone’s most pressing issues is staff and the various options as to how to treat your employees that are available. We do not profess to be labour experts and imagine people will have taken their own advice from whomever they currently use for labour advice. We do know that the concept of ‘no work, no pay’ is lawful and is supported by the Unemployment Fund by the issue of a special circumstance category of claiming. A staff member who is unable to work away from the business, and logically if the business itself cannot trade under lockdown, will be entitled to claim to a maximum of R3 500 per month. The process for each employee to register is in the form of an electronic submission process and require a variety of new forms. From an employee’s point of view they will need to get their
bank account confirmed by their bank on a requisite form.

As banks are staying open, they will be permitted to this as part of the lockdown rules. Taryn O’Neil, who many of you know, heads our Payroll Outsource department and is knowledgeable of all things payroll. Taryn can be reached on She will assist you in either supplying you the forms which need to be done, advising you on procedure or completing and facilitating the process for you. Just to reiterate, she is payroll, not labour. If you have labour related queries we would direct you to Brookes Incorporated who are known and recommended by us. Taryn again, will have their details, to refer you.

Anyone who is familiar with ETI will realise that payments made to companies under this scheme, are erratic, to say the least. Government have promised monthly payouts as opposed to the theoretical 6 monthly cycle. I do not want to appear cynical during this trying period so will leave it with a, that remains to be seen. My partner Shireen will shoot me for this but she is our resident expert so if you have any ETI queries you can email her on and she will be delighted to assist.

It has been widely publicised that companies will have the option to hold back 20% of their PAYE payment to SARS for 4 months. We have not seen where this is legislated nor what changes have been made to the submission forms for this.

We assume we will be briefed further shortly. In the interim either Taryn mentioned earlier can be contacted or alternately Devasha Girdharie, the Practice Tax Manager on We suggest taking the 20% cashflow relaxation into account when calculating your businesses cash requirements and we will continue to update you on this point. What we do believe is that these types of initiatives are limited to taxpayers in good standing. If you want to check that your status is clear, Devasha will be able to assist in this regard.

In the same vein we have been told that UIF contributions as well as SDL payments may be suspended to further assist.

As in with the PAYE we cannot confirm this in line with legislation but assume we will soon be made aware.

If you fall into this category and are keeping your business, or part of your business running, requiring staff members to break lockdown, our current understanding of the requirements are:

  1. Your company will require an exemption certificate. This can be applied for electronically at
  2. Once you have this registration each employee must be in possession of a certificate issued by the company itself giving authorisation for him/her to be operating out of lockdown. The form is quite specific insofar as where they are going etc. Employees will be required to produce this if asked by the authorities or run the risk of a fine and/or 6 months in jail. Tanya Van Heerden will be able to provide you a template of this should you require. Please note that this form requires a company stamp so a senior staffer should have access to this should authorisations be required to be processed during lockdown. Tanya can be reached on and can also assist, where necessary, with the exemption certificate.

The IDC have a chunk of money put aside to assist businesses distressed by COVID 19. We are told that these loans will be a prime less 5% which I think gives a rate of 3.75%. We have no further information on this but may be a lifeline for businesses which comply. We will keep you informed as we gather more information.

As many of you are aware Standard bank and Nedbank are freezing payments on business loans to assist people with cashflow. We suspect that the other mainstream banks will follow suite imminently. In addition, government appear to have intervened in terms of forcing banks to suspend any debt recall, repossessions etc. over the duration of the crisis.

Let’s all hope it does not get to that.

In conclusion I am not going to morale boost, offer platitudes and the like, our social media is full of that. What I am going to say is this hurdle is what it is. We are African and we are resilient. We have conquered worse, and dealt with worse, with little or no assistance. Let’s take the help where it is on offer, take the time to reflect on your businesses over this more sedentary period and finally implement steps to further cut costs and improve our efficiencies so we are prepared for a world after COVID 19.

Good luck, be vigilant and safe, and if I do not speak with you over the next few weeks, I’ll see you on the flip side of lockdown.