The COVID-19 pandemic continues to dominate conversations in every sphere of our lives. For most, the greatest challenge is navigating the uncertainty created by the coronavirus. It is not a stretch to say that we are right in the middle of a global crisis. As leaders, we are forced to make some of the most difficult decisions we have ever had to make in our lives.
The good news is that there is hope. All crises are opportunities to lead. This is when your ability to lead in the moment is tested the most. Sometimes, you have to lead your people through uncertainty. And as a leader, that means you have to be the rock in frightening times.
As leaders of our organisations we feel fear too. We’re not bulletproof; we’re human like everyone else. Great leadership stands out in times of crisis because great leaders have prepared themselves for the moment. Their voice is one that responds, not reacts.
Our president Cyril Ramaphosa announced on 23 March 2020 that our country will go into a nation-wide lockdown for 21 days as from midnight 26 March 2020 to midnight 16 April 2020. This equates to 13 working days after taking into consideration the April public holidays. We at LEAD will be working remotely to ensure that we can continue to support you during this period.
Our president also announced some incentives, schemes and financial assistance that is available to businesses:
– Solidarity fund (www.solidarityfund.co.za) to assist small businesses and their employees affected by the coronavirus pandemic;
– Special dispensation for companies that are in distress because of Covid-19 where employees will receive wage payments through the Temporary Employees Relief Scheme, which will enable companies to pay employees directly during this period to avoid retrenchment;
– Employees who fall ill through exposure at their workplace will be paid through the Compensation Fund;
– Commercial banks will develop common approaches to debt relief and other necessary measures;
– Tax subsidy of up to R500 per month for the next four months for those employees earning below R6,500 under the Employment Tax Incentive Scheme;
– SARS to pay Employee Tax Incentive reimbursements from twice a year to monthly;
– Tax compliant businesses with a turnover of less than R50 million will be allowed to delay 20% of their PAYE liabilities over the next four months and provisional corporate tax payments over the next six months (without penalties and interest);
– Exploring temporary reduction of employer and employee contributions towards the Unemployment Insurance Fund and Skills Development Fund;
– Department of Small Business Development (www.smmesa.gov.za) has made R500 million available to assist small and medium enterprises that are in distress;
– The Industrial Development Corporation has put packages together with the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition for industrial funding to address the situation of vulnerable firms;
– The Department of Tourism has made an additional R200 million available to assist SME’s in the tourism and hospitality sector.
Government will release more detail on some of the above incentives, schemes and financial assistance. We urge you to take care of your employees during this period.
We pray for the country and you as our clients for wisdom during this challenging time.