Some small businesses are already receiving financial assistance from The South African Future Trust, established by Nicky and Jonathan Oppenheimer to offer an initial R1 billion in support to small and medium enterprises impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. 

In a statement issued on Monday, the South African Future Trust (SAFT) said that it had received over 10 000 applications from small, medium and micro enterprises since applications opened on 3 April.

“Our partner banks – ABSA, FNB, Nedbank, and Standard Bank – began processing applications on Friday 3rd April. The first applications were approved over the weekend, with the first payments reaching SMME employees over the course of today,” the statement read. 

The SAFT expects to approve in excess of R250 million loans over the next 48 hours. “This would equate to over 20 000 individuals already benefitting from SAFT support.”

Nicky and Jonathan Oppenheimer pledged R1 billion to support small medium and micro enterprises at the end of March, shortly after government announced a 21-day lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The South African Future Trust was formally established with an  initial R1 billion in support, the Oppenheimers said.

The SAFT partnered with four major banks, namely Absa, Absa, FirstRand Bank, Nedbank and Standard Bank, and clients of these banks can apply for funding. 

“The SAFT will transfer funds directly to employees of participating SMMEs, via interest-free loans where employees themselves carry no liability,” an initial statement read.

Any loans repaid to the SAFT will be used to support initiatives that focus on employment creation until all funds are disbursed, Fin24 previously reported.

*Compiled by Marelise van der Merwe and Lameez Omarjee

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