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30 November 2020

In our national “Family Meeting” with President Cyril Ramaphosa, we heard that the extension of the Disaster Management Act remains in place until 15 December 2020 to control the spread of COVID-19 in the country. This means that, with a few exceptions, many of the regulations announced under Alert Level 1 remain in place. The updated regulations released on Wednesday; 11 November 2020 can be viewed here.

While many of us may be suffering from COVID-19 fatigue, we all heard some positive news, when the phase three results on the Pfizer Vaccine trials were announced this week. With some optimistic news on the vaccine, we all still need to remain vigilant as we move towards the end of 2020 calendar year.

Amongst the announcements made, we are pleased that the COVID-19 UIF TERS benefit scheme will be extended by another month, to 15 October 2020.  Government will continue discussions with social partners on support for businesses in distress going forward, mindful of the need to ensure that the UIF has sufficient funds to meet the anticipated rise in unemployment claims.

Discussions with the City of Johannesburg continued this week, as SAACI works on a plan to assist members and the Business Events Industry on the requirements we shared last week from the City of Johannesburg’s JOC team. We will shortly announce dates for an educational training session which the City of Johannesburg has committed to be part of to share the needs from the City’s JOC team.

SAACI’s engagement with government on the National Industry recovery plan continued this week. While there is agreement on the areas that need immediate focus, there is also concern on the funding for the programmes that we have proposed. We are aware on the impact COVID-19 has had on our members and the Business Events Sector and as such, any project or programme we wish to activate for the industry’s recovery needs to be funded by government.

SAACI carried this message into the TBCSA meeting with the Minister of Tourism. More than ever, consistency and certainty are needed to restore confidence in the tourism eco-system, including public and private partnerships on projects and programmes that have sustainable recovery at its core. Saving the Business Events Industry – and securing its vital socio-economic contribution – requires close cooperation and ongoing short-term emergency relief by governments.

Emergency relief could be provided to both public and private organisations through cash infusions, government-backed loans and through relief mechanisms such as waivers and reductions on taxes and charges. SAACI will, and continues to be a key participant, in these discussions, and in driving the views and needs of the Business Events Industry on behalf of members.

With the many personal and professional challenges that we have faced, the SAACI Team will keep working on driving the recovery of the Business Events Industry on behalf of members. Once we have confirmed the support and funding for the intended projects or programmes, we will share the information on this with our members.

Optimism without action is not what we need now, we need action that drives recovery which members can benefit from and our beloved Business Events Industry can slowly recover.

Remain Safe, Remain Positive.