Mobile operator MTN is offering all employees an opportunity to apply for a fully-paid, fully-offline one-week holiday, over and above their annual leave allocations.
The pandemic has upended the traditional workplace and employees no longer have the luxury of ‘punching out’ on the workplace, nor do they ‘clock out’ of their personal lives when they arrive in the workplace, the company said in a statement on Wednesday (4 August).
“Covid-19 continues to add pressure and I have also seen how much more strain is put on our people and the business overall. In addition to the severe health concerns resulting from infections, we are seeing a much wider impact on the overall mental health and wellbeing of our workforce,” said MTN SA’s chief of human resources, Tebogo Maenetja.
“At MTN, we sought out insights into this growing trend and through various feedback channels we found that some of our people are experiencing strain, fatigue and in some instances burn-out.”
Maenetja said that the pandemic has disrupted work-life separation and MTN found that employees were consistently working considerably longer days than deemed healthy.
“The lack of a commute had seen our people sitting down at their desks at 07h00 and leaving at 19h00 and we have had to push back against this kind of behaviour as 16 months in – people are exhausted.”
MTN said that the initiative will run between 1 August and 31 October 2021 and sees all employees, including contractors, as well as employees in the stores and call centres, receive one week of complete shutdown – no emails, no calls, and no meetings.
“We believe that a healthy workforce will result in higher levels of efficiency and productivity and ultimately a better customer experience,” Maenetja said
Maenetja also pointed to other initiatives that MTN has introduced in an effort to establish a better work-life balance.
“We have onboarded a new employee wellness provider and introduced initiatives such as ‘No meeting day’ where MTN encourages all employees across its operations to not hold any internal meeting the whole day, this happens once a month.
“Around the world and across industries, organisations, including ourselves have had to rethink what work looks like in fundamental ways. And it’s on all of us — from senior executives to individual contributors — to provide meaningful solutions to navigate the days, months, and even years ahead.”
Absa employs 27,160 people in South Africa alone, with 619 branches, 8,660 ATMs, and 104,544 point-of-sale (PoS) devices.
An Absa spokesperson said that the bank has seen a significant increase in demand for technology and security skills in the market, amid a greater focus on digital innovation in financial services and other industries.
This shift towards digital has been driven by the Covid-19 pandemic, the bank said and has been highly disruptive to traditional banking practices over the last year.
Banking services have evolved rapidly in recent years, with a growing focus on digital, mobile and online-first banking. Physical branches, as a result, have been shrinking or closing down across the industry.
This process shifted into high gear in 2020 and 2021 following the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, forcing a rethink of strategy, products and services.
The bank says it has seen an accelerated switch to digital channels, becoming the preferred channel among retail customers. It has also reported a ‘faster than expected erosion of the role of branches in product distribution, requiring branch model redefinition’.
It says it has been on a journey to evolve IT architecture to support the massive transfer of customers to digital channels.
“In addition, we have seen a number of new technologies that are transforming the way we work. At Absa, we continue to focus on developing our people and equipping them with next-generation technology skills e.g. cloud, through initiatives such as our Skills Guild with Amazon Web Services.”
The bank said that it is making significant investments in the training and development of its workforce, and supplementing this through external hiring. It said that it is searching for 250 technology roles across the business.
Specific skillsets it is looking for includes:
Engineering (Platform, Data Engineering / DevOps / DevSecOps);
The tech skills listed by Absa are highly sought-after across the banking industry and are also in high demand by competitors including FNB and Capitec. Both banks have in recent weeks signalled a hiring drive with a particular focus on tech.
FNB chief executive, Jacques Celliers made a call for a “collective effort to avail economic opportunities, better employment and career prospects to quell talent migration to overseas markets”.
He also encouraged local talent that has moved overseas to consider returning for opportunities in domestic markets across the African continent.
To expedite its fintech and platform-related aspirations in banking, insurance, investments and telecommunications, FNB said it will recruit 300 additional experts with engineering, technology, data and quant skills.
The group said it is looking for
Data and quant scientists;
Systems and solutions architects;
Chemical and mechanical engineers;
Business and systems analysts;
Customer and user experience specialists; and
Content and design specialists.
Capitec, meanwhile, said that it also aims to fill around 300 positions over the next few months, filling positions for graduates to senior professionals.
“Initially, at the beginning of the Covid lockdown, SARS allowed affected businesses to deter a percentage of their VAT and PAYE returns. This now has been stopped and there are no further tax incentives available,” says Ken Brown, director at SME. Tax, an online accounting and business management practice.
He said that instead of looking for once-off incentives, most business owners would be better off if they focused on ensuring they qualify for the existing Small Business Corporation (SBC) incentive.
Besides the tax breaks, there are also generous depreciation allowances that can be used as a tool to reduce their tax burden and keep their business afloat during these turbulent times.
“Professionals like your accountant and tax consultant can make sure you make the most of the tax incentives at your disposal by ensuring all your management accounts are in order long before tax season comes around,” Brown said.
He said that the main purpose of an accountant using management accounts is to guide your decision-making. Management accounts also help you understand sales cycles and sales streams like what products and service sales the most, what customers look for, and when they look for it.
This also allows us to evaluate the cost of sales, what alternative we can use.
Brown says to ascertain whether your business qualifies for small business tax ask yourself these questions:
Is your business turnover less than R20 million per year?
Are the shareholders in your business all-natural persons?
Do you only own your own business?
Does less than 20% of your turnover come from “investment” income?
Is less than 20% of your income from rendering a “personal” service?
If you have answered YES to all the above questions, your business could be making massive Income Tax savings.
Brown said that there remains a question of whether the Small Business Corporation Income Tax Savings are worth it?
The table below gives some insight: Taxable Profit Small Business Tax STD Business Tax Tax Saving
Besides the Income Tax savings, there are other ways you can gain from being a small business corporation. SBC’s are allowed to depreciate their productive assets at a faster rate than other businesses.
“Depreciation, although not a physical cash cost, is captured as an expense on your income statement thereby reducing your profit and as you see from the table above, smaller profits equal less tax,” said Brown.
Shareholders of SBC’s who pay the maximum rate, that is 45% of their income, have the opportunity to gain a tax benefit by using a mixture of salary and dividends.
And with the tax-filing season in full swing, many taxpayers will be weighing the tax impact of the travel restrictions imposed during the hard lockdown in South Africa.
The good news is some temporary relief has been provided by the South African Revenue Service (SARS) for the 2020 and 2021 years of assessment.
“Covid-19 has cut a swathe of destruction through the economy and the health sector, affecting life and livelihoods. Among the consequences, the severe lockdown Level 5 impacted the travel arrangements of many individuals. Fortunately, there has been some relaxation in this regard to cater for these undesired outcomes,” said Megan Landers, manager: International Tax at specialist tax and transaction advisers, AJM Tax.
“To accommodate the fact many people were not able to travel, the 183-day exemption requirement has been reduced to 117 days, although the 60 consecutive day requirement remains intact. This is still for a given 12-month period,” she said.
These changes relate to section 10(1)(o)(ii) of the Income Tax Act, which provides a tax exemption for residents who render services outside South Africa for more than 183 full days in a given 12-month period, of which 60 of those days need be continuous.
Landers pointed out that South African tax residents are taxed on their worldwide income, which inherently includes income procured abroad.
“But provided the above two requirements are met, the first R1.25 million of foreign employment income is now exempt from tax liability, based on recent tax amendments. Any income earned above the threshold will then be taxed based on the normal income tax tables and rules.”
Landers said the monetary limit applies from 1 March 2020, and before that time, the entire portion of income for services rendered abroad was exempt.
“The relaxation is not permanent in nature and merely finds application for the 12-month period commencing on or after 29 February 2020 and ending on or before 28 February 2021 – therefore implying that only the 2021 year of assessment returns can be based on the aforementioned. Fortunately, the fiscus realises the need for positive intervention.” ---
The index for June 2021 recorded a real salary of R12,496, or R14,883 in nominal terms. This is -0.5% lower than a year ago.
The decline in the average take-home pay can be explained by more lower-paid workers getting back into the market, the group said. As weekly or daily-paid workers tend to be paid less than monthly salary earners, the real decline in pay is likely less severe than presented.
“As we have stated in previous BTPIs, monthly wage employees were not as impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns. So, with the lower-paid daily and weekly returning to the system, the average monthly salary will lower a little,” it said.
Although the average real take-home pay did not move much year-on-year, the June 2021 wage was slightly less than the June 2018 average. Similar to the group’s May 2021 BTPI report, this indicates that the wage trend over the last three years has stagnated from the economic impact of last year.
Total salaries paid into bank accounts were up sharply in real terms due to June 2020 being a weak number. However, on a two-year view, the total money paid to all the employees in the National Payment System was still about 3% lower than in 2019, it said.
While the BTPI isn’t a measure of total employment in South Africa, the take-home pay trends do provide insight into overall employment, BankservAfrica said.
In June 2021, the number of people employed by larger formal sector employers appeared to be lower than the 2019 average but far higher than the 2020 numbers.
“Including the 2019 numbers from before the pandemic makes sense, as June 2020 recorded far lower than ‘normal’ take-home payments due to being in the middle of various lockdown levels,” it said.
The number of individuals employed indicates that recovery was still taking place during June 2021, even though the lockdowns restrictions were imposed in the second half of the month.
“With that said, we are aware that payments are often programmed to take place a few weeks in advance – as we noticed in April 2020, where the numbers barely moved until May 2020, when the first major decline showed. Likely, the recent two restrictive lockdown measures from South Africa’s Covid-19 third wave will only appear in the August 2021 data,” BankservAfrica said.
Despite this, it said that the recovery has been stronger than one could have expected.
“But, the total salary payments are not yet back at levels seen two, three or even four years ago. The decline in total take-home pay paid to all the employees shows the Covid-19 pandemic still influences the number of people employed in the formal sector and the total real amount paid.”
Total take-home pay for all employees in the system increased by 11% year-on-year – but the fact that South Africa has not yet recorded better numbers than 2019, 2018 or 2017 indicates that salaries have not yet fully recovered.
“On balance, South Africa is about 1% of full employment recovery and within 3.5% or so of total money paid for take-home pay of all people in the national banking system,” it said.
“Overall, both average and total salaries are slowly getting closer to what would have happened if the pandemic did not occur. But we expect this to become clearer in the August numbers when the full impact of the third wave reflects.” ---
Financial services firm FNB says it is reigniting a call for the private and public sectors to prevent ‘brain drain’ by investing in high-quality critical skills in domestic markets.
The bank is calling for a collective effort to avail economic opportunities, better employment and career prospects to quell talent migration to overseas markets.
“FNB further encourages local talent that is overseas to consider returning for opportunities in domestic markets across the African continent,” it said on Thursday (29 July).
To expedite its bold fintech and platform-related aspirations in banking, insurance, investments and telecommunications, FNB said it will recruit 300 additional experts with engineering, technology, data and quant skills to supplement its existing cohort of more than 5,000 equivalent skills.
The group said it is looking for
Data and quant scientists;
Systems and solutions architects;
Chemical and mechanical engineers;
Business and systems analysts;
Customer and user experience specialists; and
Content and design specialists.
Jacques Celliers, FNB CEO, said: “Investing in top talent with critical skills allows economies and businesses to unlock innovation, investment, global competitiveness, and social upliftment.
“As an employer to an inclusive and diverse group of more than 40 000 employees, our response to this challenge starts with recognising the need to empower the youth with meaningful work experience.”
Through its internal FirstJob programme, Celliers said that the bank has enabled over 2,500 youth to gain experience with over R280 million invested since 2018.
“For over a decade, we’ve also been running a highly successful graduate programme and continue to employ most of the participants. Some of those graduates are leading key positions in our business to deliver helpful solutions to our customers,” he said.
The application process for the new roles commences from Monday 9 August 2021. The bank is inviting top talent to submit applications via its LinkedIn page.
“FNB further commits to making the application process as smooth and swift as possible requiring that potential candidates submit an abbreviated Curriculum Vitae, undergo a maximum of two interviews and be placed as quickly as possible in these roles,” it said.
Launched in 2010, the survey is conducted annually to help SAGEA members review the success of their graduate campaigns and help plan their future recruitment programmes.
The research took place between March to June 2021, attracting responses from 2,256 candidates.
“Each survey participant was asked to name up to two organisations whom they felt had the best graduate programme in specific sectors or industry groups with which they were familiar,” SAGEA said.
There were no lists of organisations to choose from and responses were entirely unprompted.
The group said that candidates were most likely to vote for specific organisations based on the programmes available, the training and development, the overall reputation of the organisation or the appeal of the brand.
In the accounting sector, PwC gained more than a third of the votes, while the ‘Big Four’ professional services firms gained more than three-quarters of the votes within this sector.
Commercial and retail banks attracted big interest, with Standard Bank receiving a quarter of the votes.
Sasol gained the most votes in both the chemical & pharmaceutical and engineering or industrial sectors, while Discovery was the top employer for both health and insurance.
Two organisations were the top employers in their sector for the first time this year: BCG within management consulting and the Auditor General in the public sector.
Below are the companies South African students selected across every major category.
Amid burnout, return to office plans and myriad incentives to jump ship, many employees are considering leaving their jobs for greener pastures.
Following a year brimming with economic uncertainty and layoffs, many companies are looking to bolster hiring. In fact, 77% of executives plan to hire in the months ahead, according to a recent West Monroe's latest quarterly poll. Amid employee burnout, a tight labor market and deal sweeteners to poach top talent across industries, a speculated Great Resignation is said to be in the works, as employees consider leaving their jobs for greener pastures. So, are employees really quitting at comparatively high rates or has the rumored "turnover tsunami" yet to make landfall?
"Our analysis supports the anticipated extension of the 'Great Resignation.' As pandemic life recedes in the U.S., people are leaving their jobs in search of more flexibility (and more money)," said Workforce Logiq's chief data scientist and talent economist, Christy Petrosso.
"It's leading to a dramatic increase in resignations, and as our benchmark report indicates, a dramatic increase in the percentage of workers now open to exploring other job opportunities or unsolicited recruiting messages," she continued.
With regards to anticipated workforce turnover or lack thereof, David Niu, CEO and founder of TINYpulse, said he's seen "both ends of the spectrum," although the company's latest State of Employee Engagement Report "suggests that people leaders are expecting minimal turnover."
"On the other end, 39% of respondents felt that it is 'more challenging' or 'much more challenging to fill open roles. So there is already a sense of foreboding as well," he said.
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Citing feedback from people leaders in a recent company survey, Niu said the top reasons employees choose to quit include "difficulties with adjusting to remote work, lower motivation, uncertainty about returning to work in person, and lower commitment to the organization."
Based on insights from the company'sENGAGE 5D Profile algorithm that tracks 35 job categories, Petrosso said the top reasons employees are currently "open to leaving their current jobs" are "a lack of career growth and fear that the company is not resilient enough to survive setbacks."
Additionally, she explained that a "lack of business stability, positive environment, or strong leadership" as other top reasons factoring into an employee deciding to leave a company while noting that the specific reasons an employee may decide to leave a company are "really dependent on specific job categories."
"At a more granular level, IT workers point to career growth as the main reason they want to explore other opportunities, while lack of business stability is driving software engineers to be open to a different job," Petrosso said.
Office reentry could factor in
In recent months, a number of companies have started to bring employees back to the in-person office after a year of remote work. But do employees want to return to the office? According to a Blind survey conducted earlier this year, 1 in 3 employees said they would quit if work from home ended. These reentry plans could factor into the decision to quit for some employees teetering on the turnover edge.
"Office reentry plans are directly affecting turnover. Return to work plans with 4 days required in the office were associated with the highest predicted attrition. Lower attrition was predicted for organizations with return to work plans ranging from 1-3 required days in the office," Niu said, citing the company's employee engagement survey data.
Based on these findings, hybrid work "was rated as best for optimizing employee performance, reducing turnover, and it strikes a middle ground in terms of limiting employee emotional exhaustion," according to Niu.
According to LaSalle Network's March Office Re-Entry Index, 34% of respondents who had not started to bring employees back to the office anticipated "conflicts to arise" between the staff and executives related to "return-to-work policies" with the top predicted conflict being employees wanting to continue working remotely.
"Another driver of attrition is return to work plans that do not offer flexibility for employees. There's clear implications for leaders – listen to your employee's needs and meet them halfway. If you don't, don't be surprised when your top talent starts to leave," Niu said.
Vaccinations, variants and volatility
Even employees who are not actively looking for new positions could be potentially swayed to make the leap. After all, employees can readily adjust their LinkedIn profile settings to inform recruiters they could be interested in the right opportunity.
Citing Workforce Logiq's latest flash report, Petrosso said the data "offers evidence that more U.S. professional and knowledge workers are interested in exploring other job opportunities or unsolicited recruiting messages than ever before" and these numbers represent a spike in quarterly volatility of nearly 70%, per Petrosso.
"Our predictive analysis means that we can expect more workers to be receptive to changing jobs and unsolicited recruiting calls over the next 60-90 days – at a minimum," she continued.
Over the last six months, more than 163 million people have been vaccinated against COVID-19 in the U.S., representing nearly half of the total population, according to the CDC's COVID Data Tracker, however, inoculation rates vary markedly from state to state. Petrosso said the company's data science team identified a correlation between employment volatility trends and a state's inoculation rates.
"States with low COVID vaccination rates have the highest increases in levels of employee volatility," she explained.
In the second quarter, Mississippi had the highest volatility increase at 73% and the lowest U.S. state vaccination rate, per Petrosso.
"We're not sure what's causing this trend, but a likely scenario could be that unvaccinated people are less concerned about COVID (i.e., they are less risk-averse) so they could be more open to changing jobs," she said.
So when can employers anticipate the speculated turnover to peak and when can companies expect these resignations to normalize?
"All we can do is follow the data science. And that says we can expect a heightened level of retention uncertainty into the fall," Petrosso said while making note of the emerging Delta variant, uncertainty related to this COVID-19 mutation and potentially future economic volatility across the U.S.
"If vaccination rates fail to keep pace with its spread, experts say the variant could lead to new COVID surges in parts of the country where a substantial proportion of the population remains unvaccinated. The variant could impact recovery in those states with lower vaccination rates, potentially reversing economic growth trends," Petrosso said.
Similarly, Niu emphasized the potential economic impact of the Delta variant but said other factors such as office reentry deadlines, "availability of other desirable jobs" and COVID-19 restrictions will influence peak turnover rates.
"Given the number of factors driving the turnover peak, only time will tell. But if the Delta variant is held at bay, we anticipate the upcoming quarters will determine if this is a turnover tsunami or turnover trickle," Niu said. ---
Capitec CEO, Gerrie Fourie says the bank will be growing its transactional and insurance operations aggressively. Photo: Supplied by Capitec PR
Capitec has announced a big recruitment drive, and wants to fill around 300 positions.
Its CEO, Gerrie Fourie, says SA has as many opportunities as it has challenges.
He says anyone who has a positive attitude towards the country will see room to grow further.
As many people and some businesses are likely questioning the wisdom of ploughing more money into South Africa after the recent unrest, Capitec CEO Gerrie Fourie says he sees ample opportunities.
A perfectly running economy like Switzerland might sound like a dream, but Fourie says it doesn't have the magnitude of opportunities that challenges-ridden SA presents.
"I am a strong believer that if you are positive, you'll look for opportunities, you'll find opportunities. If you are negative, you just see problems," said the Capitec CEO during the PSG Think Big Series discussion on Tuesday.
Capitec launched a big recruitment drive on Tuesday, which will see it fill around 300 positions of mainly "fourth industrial revolution" skills over the next few months. These will include disciplines in business science, artificial intelligence, data engineers and computer analysts.
Fourie said he understood that it could be "quite scary" to be recruiting hundreds of people in the current environment as economies battered by Covid-19 are still trying to recover. But Capitec is "looking to grow and go further", he said.
Fourie said he does not want to underplay SA's challenges, especially the education system that needs an overhaul. But to get around this, Capitec is doing its own training.
"There are big challenges there. But when I look at where we are, we believe there are massive opportunities in South Africa," he said.
Room to disrupt the market
Capitec has around 16.3 million clients, which Fourie says is a 10% market share of SA's retail banking. The banks wants to grow that to around 20% to 25%. In the retail deposit space and insurance, Capitec respectively commands 8% for now and about 6% in credit.
So, Fourie sees "plenty of opportunities" to grow in these areas.
The bank also has big ambitions for its business banking proposition, following its acquisition of Mercantile Bank in 2019.
"We're very excited about Mercantile because, in business banking, there's a big opportunity in the SME market. If you want to unlock the opportunity in Africa, that's the market you focus on," he said.
Mercantile Bank will be transformed into a completely digital Capitec Business Bank. With a bank that's not dependent on its brick-and-mortar infrastructure to grow, it might offer Capitec the opportunity to take its offering internationally, said Fourie.
However, the bank's immediate focus is growing its market share in SA, and any international expansion would be small and measured.
Building an army of innovators
As a young bank, Fourie said Capitec's roadmap looked at where it wants to be in three years during the first two decades of its existence. Now, it's looking at where the bank must be in 2030.
With this long-term focus, it's looking past short-term noises.
The bank has an "innovation team" that scouts the world, looking at how banking and financial services are changing in other markets.
Fourie said the team travelled a lot before Covid-19, doing over 1 000 international trips a year. It not only confined its learnings to financial services but spent time with retail and internet giants like Alibaba and Tencent to understand where opportunities lie in the blurring lines between banks, mobile operators and retailers.
But Capitec also learns a lot from the annual hackathon competitions that it runs with universities to get new innovative digital solutions for real-world problems.
Fourie said there are three to four solutions currently in production that came from this initiative that the bank will probably use.
FNB has announced a range of relief measures for individual and business customers impacted by recent civil unrest in South Africa.
In a statement on Monday (26 July), the bank said individual qualifying customers will be offered relief based on the products they hold with the bank.
This will apply to customers who are in good standing on their accounts held with FNB as of 30 June 2021. The measures will include:
Expediting claims for self-employed and salaried customers who have FNB credit life policies that cover them for retrenchment and inability to earn an income.
FNB Life customers with cashflow constraints will be allowed to pause their policies with FNB Life until the end of October 2021 and recommence with the policy thereafter without any penalties or waiting periods.
Instalment payment break/cashflow relief, during which part or no instalment/repayment is due for at least 3 months, coupled with term extensions (where applicable) to help customers manage their monthly repayments after the 3-month cashflow relief period.
Equity release to unlock cash flow for customers with equity in home loans.
Waiving of Saswitch fees for August and September 2021, with customers incurring the same fee when drawing cash at another bank’s ATM as they would at their own bank.
Waiving of unpaid debit order fees on EFT, NAEDO and DebiCheck transactions for all customers qualifying for the 3-month payment break/cashflow relief, during the relief period.
Waiving of early withdrawals fees until the end of September 2021 for notice and/or fixed savings accounts.
FNB said that business/commercial clients will also be offered relief which includes, but is not limited to:
Offering payment breaks on capital and interest for qualifying clients who have lending products.
FNB Insurance Brokers will be working proactively with Sasria to expedite clients’ claims.
All FNB Speedpoint devices/hardware lost/stolen/damaged will be replaced at no charge for impacted clients.
Waiving of Saswitch fees for August and September 2021.
“As part of these efforts, our immediate interventions are focused on restoring access to essential financial services,” FNB said. “As a result, we have now restored most of our ATMs that were damaged and our plans to deploy the most optimal solutions for impacted full-service branches are at an advanced stage.”
The bank said it has conducted a thorough analysis to provide relief to help as many customers as possible.
“Currently, our analysis shows that there are individual customers who may have been directly or indirectly impacted by the unrest from an income perspective as well as access to essential infrastructure and food security.
“Similarly, business customers in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng may be directly or indirectly impacted from a cash flow, revenue, infrastructure, asset and inventory loss perspective, with urgent interventions needed to help them restock and rebuild.”
The president eased lockdown restrictions in an address to the nation on Sunday evening – imposed a month ago in an attempt to curb the spread of the deadly delta variant of the coronavirus.
He also announced the reinstatement of a monthly welfare grant of R350 for the poor until the end of March next year, along with a R400 million state contribution to a humanitarian relief fund.
This is made possible by a slight improvement in revenue collection.
“We are also implementing measures to help businesses to rebuild. The most immediate need is to ensure that those businesses that were damaged or looted are able to rebuild and reopen as quickly as possible,” he said.
The president said that South Africa is one of the few countries in the world to have a state-owned insurance company, SASRIA, which provides cover against incidents of public violence, strikes, riots and unrest.
SASRIA has committed to expedite the payment of all valid claims, and is working together with private insurers, Ramaphosa said, adding that some businesses that were victims of this violence may not have been insured.
“We will not abandon them in their time of need. We are therefore working to extend support to uninsured businesses that were affected by the violence. The government will set aside dedicated funds for this purpose and we will soon announce a mechanism for these businesses to apply for support.”
The president said that the government will reprioritise funding for SMMEs affected by the pandemic through a once-off business survival funding mechanism.
“We are also working with large businesses to determine their contribution to the support of SMMEs, job creation and eradication of hunger and poverty.”
The UIF, he said, will facilitate payments as quickly as possible to support workers who have not received an income.
“Most importantly, the UIF will provide income support to all those employees who have lost jobs as a result of the recent unrest,” the president said. This will ensure that jobs are protected and that workers can continue to earn an income as those businesses take time to rebuild.
“We are expanding the Employment Tax Incentive for a period of four months to include any employee earning below R6,500 and to increase the incentive amount by up to R750 per month.”
This, the president said, will encourage employers to hire and retain employees, especially those in the retail and hospitality sectors that have been worst affected.
“We will also defer payment of PAYE taxes for a period of three months to provide businesses with additional cash flow, with an automatic deferral of 35% of PAYE liabilities for employers with revenue below R100 million.”
The payment of excise taxes by the alcohol sector will also be deferred for a period of three months, to ease the burden on the sector as it recovers, the president said.
“These interventions are designed to extend as much relief as possible to individuals and businesses that are in need of support, without compromising our fiscal sustainability.”
Ramaphosa said that the impact of recent events on the economy has made the implementation of the government’s Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan even more important.
Bloomberg reported that South Africa’s economy shrank 7% last year, the most in a century, with unemployment at record highs as businesses closed their doors amid a pandemic that has lasted more than 18 months and counting.
The country’s woes were exacerbated by the recent unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, which lead to violence and looting at the cost of many lives and damage to industry. The South African Property Owners Association estimates a cost of around R50 billion in lost output while placing 150,000 jobs at risk.