cyril ramaphosa vat refund coronavirus 2

Photo: PresidencyZA / Twitter

Coronavirus: South Africans may soon get ‘VAT refunds’ during crisis

Cyril Ramaphosa – and his fellow cross-party politicians – could use a VAT refund to mitigate the disastrous economic impact coronavirus is likely to have.

cyril ramaphosa vat refund coronavirus 2

Photo: PresidencyZA / Twitter

The toughest week of an already brutal 2020 has been all 14 political parties of South Africa unite, to deliver a simple but effective message of “we are all in this together”. Partisan loyalties have been put to one side, as all corners of Parliament try to figure out the best way forward to fight coronavirus – and it could start with some VAT refunds.

The measure, apparently being considered by the government, would allow businesses and workers to reclaim the VAT put on goods that have been purchased specifically for their trade. If it’s an essential tool to facilitate work, businesses may soon be able to apply for a refund on each item.

Could South Africans be on course for VAT refund?

Although this move is still very much at the planning stage, President Cyril Ramaphosa also suggested there could be even more relief for businesses that are set to face the wrath of impending economic downturn. Contributions to the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) could also be “suspended”:

“The 14 political parties in our Parliament are standing together, across party political divides, to fight this disease together. We hereby demonstrate practically that we are united as the leaders of our nation to overcome this global crisis facing our country and our people.

“Both a UIF contribution holiday and the accelerated processing of VAT refunds are being considered. As the collective political leadership of this country we are at one on the extent of the challenge our nation faces, and on the measures that we must now all take to confront and overcome that challenge.” 

Cyril Ramaphosa

Cyril Ramaphosa addresses the nation on coronavirus

Ramaphosa made a series of other resolutions on Friday, as the cross-party coalition to fight coronavirus continues to present ideas for “mitigating’ coronavirus” long-term affects. And yes, the president did get involved in the big “stockpiling” debate currently engulfing our supermarkets.

  • An effective response “also requires heightened levels of personal responsibility” on the part of citizens.
  • This includes personal infection control measures such as regular hand washing, avoiding public gatherings and maintaining a distance from other people. 
  • We should avoid behaviour – like unnecessary physical contact – that increases the chances of infection.
  • We should be alert to disinformation, rumour and fake news and ensure that we do not disseminate it. 
  • We’re calling on all citizens to refrain from making excessive purchases. There is no need for stockpiling.
  • Government, business and labour need to develop measures to mitigate the economic effects of COVID-19.
  • The need to provide water to destitute communities is strong, as is a greater focus on prevention in the public transport system.