The special Covid-19 Unemployment Insurance Fund Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) benefit will be extended until 15 March 2021, but only for those sectors that have not been able to operate, President Cyril Ramaphosa has said.
Speaking during his State of the Nation Address on Thursday night, the president said the conditions of the extension – and specifics around which sectors would be included – would be announced at a later stage, following consultations with social partners at the National Economic and Labour Council (Nedlac).
"The National Treasury will work with its partners and stakeholders on improvements to the loan guarantee scheme so that it better addresses the realities of SMMEs and other businesses as they strive to recover," he said.
"We will work with our social partners to ensure that these and other interventions provide the relief to those who most need it."
The relief benefit was introduced in March 2020, and was established to allow businesses to continue paying salaries while their doors were closed during the lockdown.
It has previously battled challenges including widespread backlogs in claims.
To date, more than R57 billion in wage support has been paid to over 4.5 million workers via the scheme, Ramaphosa said, with more than R1.3 billion provided in support for mainly small and medium-sized businesses.
Businesses in distress received some R70 billion in tax relief, while R18.9 billion in loans was approved for about 13 000 businesses through the loan guarantee scheme, he added.