The Oppenheimers’ R1-billion Business Fund Opens This Week – Here’s What You Need To Know
You may recall the generous donations made by some of the country’s wealthiest people at the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown. Patrice Motsepe, Johan Rupert and the father-son due of Nicky and Jonathan Oppenheimer made contributions of R1-billion each to assist and support South Africa during the COVID-19 crisis.
The R1-billion fund established by the Oppenheimers’, called the South African Future Trust (SAFT), will make itself available to South African businesses impacted by the coronavirus from 3 April 2020.
The fund will be administered by South Africa’s big-four banks (Nedbank, Absa, Standard Bank and FNB) at no cost. Normal credit fees have also been waived for all loans approved under the fund.
“The main aim of the SAFT is to mitigate the immediate economic impact of the Covid-19 crisis by keeping companies in business and protecting jobs, in order to fast track South Africa’s economic recovery after this pandemic,” Nedbank said.
“The Trust will extend direct financial support to employees of South African Small, Medium and Micro-sized businesses who are at risk of losing their jobs or will suffer a loss of income because of Covid-19.”
How to apply
The scheme is currently available to clients of the four banks. SMMEs need to apply through their main bank.
Once approved, the funds will be paid directly to the nominated employees, however liability for the loan remains with the business.
“We are working hard to extend this partnership, with an aspiration of achieving full market coverage. We invite other financial institutions to come forward,” the trust said.
How it will work
Approved businesses will receive the funds as interest-free loans over a five-year term. Once COVID-19 has passed and operations can commence again, the repayments to the fund will be redeployed towards activities and initiatives that will create employment and grow the economy of South Africa.
“We wish to allow them much-needed breathing room to make sustainable, long-term decisions for their future. SAFT does not intend to play a role as a lender once this immediate crisis has passed,” the trust said.
SAFT loans will be:
Interest-free for a five-year period.
Subordinated to other pre-existing debt.
If businesses are unable to repay the loan, SAFT will work with them to ensure that sustainable repayment plans are put in place.
Eligibility criteria for SMEs
Annual turnover below R25 million
Must have been trading for at least 24 months
It must have been a sustainable business at 29 February 2020
It must have been adversely affected by the Covid-19 outbreak
Registration number (for CCs)
Master’s reference number (for trusts)
ID number and address (for sole proprietors)
Income tax number
Confirmation of employment status of employee