In a move to help mitigate the financial impact of the novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, local business leaders have pledged their support for the measures outlined by President Cyril Ramaphosa after he declared that the country would be going into lockdown.
In his briefing on Monday evening, Ramaphosa said that effective from Thursday midnight the entire country would be going into lockdown for 21 days, with majority of businesses also affected.
These extended measures are set to have dire consequences for the country’s already struggling economy.
However, according to a statement by Business Unity South Africa (Busa), the country’s business community will provide the President with all the necessary resources to limit the economic downturn the country is expected to experience over the coming weeks and months.
“The country’s business leaders, who all stand firmly behind the President’s leadership at this moment of national disaster, recognise the need for the lockdown period, for social distancing and strict remote working arrangements,” it said.
As part of these efforts, the business community has declared its support for the Solidarity Fund launched by the President. The fund will help local manufacturers identify new export opportunities, and provide them with capital to buy supplies to manufacture these products.
Additionally, Busa welcomed the decision by Ramaphosa to cut taxation and provide further financial relief for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as most of these companies would not be able to withstand the negative financial impact caused by the outbreak.
Martin Kingston, Busa vice president, added that all business leaders needed to come together and stand in solidarity with the President as the country tried to combat the spread of the disease.
“While we all recognise the need to make sacrifices during this demanding time, we must stand in unity with our government and stay at home to overcome the current challenging circumstances. As business people, we firmly believe that through this crisis we will lay the basis for a stronger South Africa, taking collective responsibility for our future,” he said. – Bjorn Vorster