DA interim leader John Steenhuisen. Picture: ANA
DA interim leader John Steenhuisen. Picture: ANA

Covid-19: DA calls for loan repayment reprieve for businesses

By ANA Reporter Time of article published Mar 18, 2020

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Cape Town - The Democratic Alliance's interim leader John Steenhuisen on Tuesday said that the party would call on President Cyril Ramaphosa to implement relief measures for businesses to help them weather the Covid-19 pandemic.

Companies should get a four-month forebearance on loan repayments and small businesses a four-month rent payment forebearance.

Steenhuisen also called for a three-month extension to the three-month period set for business rescue operations in the Companies Act and for the R16.4 billion in financial relief to South African Airways to be redirected to disaster management operations to handle the health crisis caused by the virus.

He said he would present the proposals from the DA to Ramaphosa at a multi-party meeting scheduled for Wednesday.

They also included suspending value-added tax (VAT), and unemployment insurance fund (UIF) payments to be suspended until "later this year". 

"We are engaging with DA local governments on possible immediate rates payment relief to businesses in their jurisdiction," Steenhuisen said.

He said his party believed the department of health should call on retired healthcare professionals to come out of retirement on a voluntary basis to help with Coronavirus screening and manning public hotlines handling calls on the health crisis.

The department should make the same call on medical students who could assist, he said.

"Covid-19 is a collective issue which can only be solved through a collective response, and South Africa needs everyone to get on board," Steenhuisen said.

He said the private healthcare sector should help government by providing additional medical supplies to regions where they are needed, and private medical aid schemes should make testing for the virus free.

"I want to call on private medical aids to make Covid-19 testing freely available on all plans without unnecessary conditions in order to fast track detection and quarantine," he said.

"We will only defeat Covid-19 if we roll up our sleeves and do the hard yards for the good of our country. Now is the time for us to band together as South Africans, put our country first and defeat the Covid-19 virus," he said.

African News Agency/ANA

* For the latest on the Covid-19 outbreak visit IOL's #Coronavirus trend page.

** If you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999

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