Just days after applications opened for the Johann Rupert Sukuma Relief Programme the fund has been oversubscribed. 
Photo: File
Just days after applications opened for the Johann Rupert Sukuma Relief Programme the fund has been oversubscribed. Photo: File

Johann Rupert's Sukuma Relief Programme temporarily closes applications

By Dhivana Rajgopaul Time of article published Apr 7, 2020

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DURBAN - Days after applications opened for the Johann Rupert Sukuma Relief Programme, the fund has been oversubscribed, with applications for financial assistance far exceeding the current available capital of R1 billion. 

This includes both completed applications and applications in progress.

The Sukuma Relief Programme is an initiative aimed at supporting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that are financially impacted by Covid-19 

The programme is split into two categories including close corporations, companies and trust category and the formal sole proprietor category.

Ben Bierman, Managing Director at Business Partners Limited (BUSINESS/PARTNERS) said that the high number of applications that the programme has received is indicative of the crippling impact that the Covid-19 crisis is having on South African SMEs.

The combined value of the two applicant categories for the programme exceeds R2.8 billion. 

Bierman said, "This exceeds the available donated capital of R1 billion almost three times over. As such, we have decided to suspend access to the application portal with immediate effect". 

He added, "We will now be using the next seven days to assess the applications received and provide feedback to the applicants. Should we thereafter find that there is still capital available, either because some of the applicants were not verified and approved, or because we have managed to secure additional capital, we will then open the programme for applications again". 

According to Bierman, the overwhelming repsonse is effectively a cry for help from South Africa’s SME sector. “

Emphasising the grave need for additional capital to continue supporting the struggling SME sector, Bierman is now calling on big businesses and corporations to contribute funding to the Sukuma Relief Programme. 

"We unfortunately had to close the online application portal as the programme is already severely oversubscribed, and in keeping the portal open, we run the risk of not being able to meet expectations," concluded BIerman. 

The South African Future Trust (SAFT) is another fund that is aiming to help businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. 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 SA’s economic recovery after this pandemic. 

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. 

The trust was established by Nicky and Jonathan Oppenheimer with an initial contribution of R1 billion.


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