COVID-19 Small Business Relief Updates (February 2021)

Posted on February 1st, 2021
Articles COVID-19 Focus

Get the latest on COVID-19 Small Business Relief initiatives and interventions by the government and the private sector.

[UPDATED – 18 February 2021]

Relief Funding for Early Childhood Development (ECD) Services

The Department of Social Development has reiterated its call to Early Childhood Development (ECD) services to apply for relief funding that is being made available through the Presidential Employment Stimulus Package.

The funding has been made to assist ECD services in recovering from the loss of income brought on by COVID-19.

All types of ECD services (registered, conditionally registered or unregistered), including centre and non-centre-based services, can apply for this relief funding.

Non-centre-based services include playgroups, toy libraries, childminders and mobile ECD programmes.

Furthermore, organisations that run, manage or oversee multiple centre and non-centre-based ECD services may apply for more than one ECD programme and more than one type of ECD programme.

As of 13 February 2021, a total of 7 343 ECD applications had been completed, which translates to 35 794 registered ECD employees. The GovChat app has received 27 068 applications.

The department has welcomed efforts by all ECD programmes, which have thus far participated in the application process for the Stimulus Package.

“The department would like to thank all ECD operators who have applied, and encourages those who have not yet done so to do so as soon as possible, before the closing date of Friday, 19 February 2021,” the department said on Monday.

The department said ECD centres continue to play a meaningful role in the lives of children.

“The first 1 000 days of life for children are pivotal for a child’s human development. Optimising the early years of children’s lives is the best investment the country can make in ensuring the children’s future is a success. Early Childhood Development also contributes to income generation for the majority of women and youth in our country,” the department said.

How to apply

Applications can be made on the following link:

Applicants must ensure that they have a bank account in the name of the ECD service. If the ECD service does not currently have such an account, they will need to open one before making an application.

They will also need to be registered on the Central Supplier Database (CSD), which can be done via this link: –

Arts Dept Working on Third Phase Relief Funding

The Department of Sport, Arts and Culture says it is fast-tracking a third phase of small business relief funding for the industry. This is to alleviate pressure on those hard hit by the ongoing lockdown.

To date, the department has implemented the first and second phases of the COVID-19 Relief Fund.

Nearly 5 000 practitioners were recommended for the first phase and over R80 million was paid out to the sector.

In the second phase and as of 14 December 2020, over R2 million was paid out to practitioners in the sector.

The department said 3 658 practitioners benefitted from the Solidarity Fund, with a total of nearly R9 million that was paid out.

Over R5 million was paid out to practitioners within the sector, Through the department’s partnership with the Department of Small Business Development (DSBD). A further estimated R13 million is to be disbursed by the end of March 2021.

Several interventions are being implemented by the Presidential Employment Stimulus Programme (PESP) throughout the country. These are geared towards job retention and job creation.

The National Arts Council (NAC) has since approved a total of 352 applications for job retention, comprising 200 organisations and 152 individual beneficiaries.

The entity also approved a total of 126 applications for job creation which is comprised of 66 individual applications and 60 organisations.

From this approval, 2 475 jobs will be retained and a further 3 453 jobs will be created. Final results from the NAC of pending applications will be released before the end of January 2020.

The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) is also in the process of adjudicating 891 applications that were received by the closing date of 10 December 2020.

The department will provide further updates as the process unfolds.

“In spite of our best efforts, the department is fully cognisant of the fact that there are many others who did not benefit from these programmes, given the department’s finite budget.

“With that said, we have and will continue to engage national organisations, in line with our open-door policy.

“The department, alongside the appointed service provider, is also developing the rollout of an implementation plan to provide an Artist Wellness Programme to the sector… and will also provide other enhancement interventions such as personal or business financial management, legal support and lifestyle management.

“Information on the third phase of the COVID-19 Relief Fund, as well the Artist Wellness Programme, will be issued in due course,” Minister Nathi Mthethwa said.

See also: COVID-19 Small Business Relief Packages Updates + Reasons Applications Are Rejected

Employment and Labour eliminates queues at Labour Centres by relaxing UIF processes

The Department of Employment and Labour is relaxing some of its processes in a bid to help curb the spread of Covid-19 and to prevent turning needs for services into super-spreaders.

Through its entity, the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), the Department in the Eastern Cape, one of the worst affected provinces, has set out key interventions to address service delivery issues and reduce the number of clients visiting Labour Centres by relaxing adherence to its processes.

Large-scale shedding of jobs in the economy, clients submitting continuation forms, and UIF-enquiries such as; status of applications, credit days, payment dates and amounts have been identified as contributing factors to long queues which could increase cross-infection of Coronavirus.

In eliminating all the red tape whilst limiting queues at Labour Offices, the UIF will be dealing with employers who will be retrenching directly for collection of documents and taking/capturing of UIF employee applications.

Clients who are receiving unemployment benefits are not expected to go to the Department every month to sign a continuation form. They will be paid by the Fund as per the pay sheet using statistics from the previous month. They will also use an SMS- functionality to inform clients of the status of their application so that they do not visit the department for such enquiries.

The UIF will also implement an Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) functionality from the 30 January 2021 which will enable clients to follow up on their claims.

“Occupational Health and Safety remains the core business of the Department and in protecting both the employees and clients, the Department will put necessary measures and reduce the spread of Coronavirus by allowing claims to be paid without mandatory source documents pending that everything is verified and correct”, said Chief Director: Provincial Operations; Ms Nomfundo Douw- Jack.

In the unfortunate event of an employee contracting the Coronavirus as a direct result of the work, a manual or online claim can be lodged using the following details: Compensation Fund: sends e-mail) or phone 0860 105 350 or CompEasy (

Clients are also encouraged to make use of the Departments’ online services by logging on to

See also: COVID-19: Small Business Relief and Other Government and Private Sector Interventions for SMEs