We are working with the National Treasury and the South African Reserve Bank to provide government-guaranteed loans to SMEs that may not be able to meet their financial obligations during the lockdown period, and when the economy reopens.

Read our FAQs to see if your business qualifies.


  • What is the qualifying criteria?

    Business that:

    • Have an existing banking relationship with Absa Bank
    • Have an annual turnover of R300 million or less measured at a group level
    • Are in good standing with the Bank as at 29 February 2020
    • Are registered with the South African Revenue Service (SARS)
    • Have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 lockdown and the resultant slowdown in the economy
    • Have no existing capacity to borrow to ease financial distress
    • Have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 lockdown and the resultant slowdown in the economy
    • Are a company, statutory body corporate, close corporation, sole proprietorship, trust or partnership, association, joint venture or any similar entity.


    Note: The COVID-19 Loan Guarantee Scheme scheme excludes state owned entities, listed companies and companies with capital market funders or funding instruments    

  • What are the key features of the COVID-19 Loan Guarantee Scheme?

    • Loans are available for business operational expenses such as salaries, rent and lease agreements, contracts with suppliers, utilities, etc. for a period of three (3) months.
    • Approval of applications for qualifying businesses are subject to the Bank’s risk-evaluation and credit-application processes.
    • The Bank holds the right to decline an application based on its assessment.
    • A business can only apply for one COVID-19 loan from one bank.
    • The loan repayment period is 66 months, with the first 6-months being a payment holiday.
    • At the end of month 7, businesses will be required to start repaying the loan over the next 60 months (5 years).
    • These loans will be offered at prime interest rate.
    • Interest will accumulate from the date on which the first drawdown on the loan occurs.
    • No additional administration and/or initiation fee will be charged. 

    The following restrictions apply should clients qualify for the COVID-19 term loan:

    • The loan cannot be used for payment of dividends and shareholder loans - payment of such loans are restricted until the COVID-19 loan has been repaid in full.
    • The loan cannot be used to pay existing debts and is only for future operational expenses.
    • The loan is not to be used to pay retrenchment packages.
    • The owners may be required to sign personal surety/personal guarantee.
  • What type of expenses are considered part of operating expenses?

    • A loan will be granted to eligible businesses to provide liquidity, in order to continue paying operating expenses over the next three months.

    Operating expenses includes items such as:

    • Salaries and wages
    • Rental and lease payments
    • Utility payments
    • Supply chain expenses

    Other operating expenses e.g. security for premises, cash in transit etc.    

  • What amount can I borrow through the COVID-19 Loan Guarantee Scheme?

    • The funding provides immediate and short-term relief to enable businesses to continue operations, whilst protecting jobs. Loan amounts will be assessed based on the businesses’ operating expenses for a period of 3 months. Businesses need to meet all criteria, and no maximum borrowing limit has been defined.    
  • How do I apply for the COVID-19 Loan Guarantee Scheme?

    Please contact your relationship Banker who will support you through the process.

Need more help? 

Contact your relationship Banker to support your application process.