Johann Rupert's R1bn Covid-19 relief fund temporarily shut as it hits capacity
The R1bn Sukuma Relief Programme for businesses, started by the Rupert family and Remgro, has been closed temporarily after receiving R2.8bn in applications.
On Monday Business Partners, the fund administrators, temporarily suspended applications just three days after it had launched the website in which small to mid-size enterprises (SMEs) and sole proprietors could apply for relief funding.
In a statement on Monday, Business Partners announced that the combined value of the two applicant categories for the programme — the close corporations, companies and trust category, and the formal sole proprietor category — exceeded R2.8bn.
“This exceeds the available donated capital of R1bn almost three times over. As such, we have decided to suspend access to the application portal with immediate effect,” said Ben Bierman, managing director at Business Partners Limited.
Bierman said this is effectively a cry for help from SA’s SME sector.
“Just three days after the online portal was opened for applications, the programme has already received in excess of 10,000 applications from formal sole proprietors, close corporations, companies and trusts.”
He appealed to the private sector and big businesses and corporations to contribute funding to the Sukuma Relief Programme.
“We are making a public plea to other big businesses that are looking to support local SMEs during this critical time. SMEs are the lifeblood of our economy, and they are in need of financial assistance, now more than ever before, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Now is the time to get involved and support each other,” Bierman said.