Absa has partnered with SAFT (South African Future Trust) to ‘to administer the disbursement of funds to SMME employees whose income will be impacted in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic’. Absa has unwavering support for SMMEs (Small, Medium, and Micro-sized Enterprises) including communities and the support of the economy in South Africa, ABSA confirms in a statement.
SAFT, founded by Nicky and Jonathan Oppenheimer, pledged R1 billion which will help mitigate issues brought by COVID-19 and the impact it had on the economy. The R1 billion will protect jobs during the crisis.
‘This followed after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a lockdown period of 21 days in South Africa, a vital and necessary effort to curb the spread of the disease, but one that will have a profound impact on many businesses.’ Absa stated in a statement.
ABSA will be working closely with the other 3 South African banks to administer the scheme. The SMME customers of all these 4 banks will be invited to apply for support from SAFT.
Bangiwe Gangeni, Deputy CE of Absa Retail and Business Bank (RBB SA) said “Absa is committed to supporting initiatives that alleviate the impact of COVID-19 on small businesses, who provide employment to millions of people whose jobs would otherwise be threatened by this pandemic,”
eligible SMME clients are those with less than 25 million turnover per year, in short-term cash flow constraints due to COVID-19 and in good health, including sectors severely impacted by the pandemic, such as tourism, hospitality, manufacturing, and services.
“Keeping people employed through this crisis has to be a priority for all of us. Absa is committed to doing what it can to mitigate the devastating socio-economic impact of this disease,”
“We are grateful to be working with SAFT to facilitate the disbursement of funds to our SMME clients’ employees. Absa has also committed to a broad range of relief mechanisms to support businesses and individuals and we will continue to find different ways of playing a contributing role during this time of crisis,” Gangeni added.
This is basically a loan for businesses, allowing them to apply for a five-year interest-free loan from SAFT which allows employees to have a lifeline.