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SA announces post-riot relief, eases virus lockdown

R350 social-relief grant reinstated.
Cyril Ramaphosa, Image: Bloomberg
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa unveiled a new relief package to help businesses and individuals recover from a week of deadly riots and coronavirus curbs, as he eased lockdown restrictions amid slowing infections.
The measures include reinstating a monthly welfare grant of R350 for the poor until the end of March, a R400 million state contribution to a humanitarian relief fund and support for uninsured businesses, Ramaphosa said Sunday in a televised speech. The government will also expand an employment tax incentive, and give companies an additional three months to pay taxes collected from their workers, he said.

Watch: President updates SA on pandemic

The imposition of stop-start curbs since the pandemic hit in March last year has shuttered thousands of businesses and added to already rampant unemployment. The economy shrank 7% last year, the most in a century.

The nation’s misery was compounded by protests that erupted in two provinces after former President Jacob Zuma was jailed this month on contempt-of-court charges and morphed into a week-long looting spree in which thousands of businesses and street traders were targeted. At least 330 people died in the unrest, which the South African Property Owners Association estimates cost the country about 50 billion rand in lost output and placed 150 000 jobs at risk.

“We have a duty to support those affected by this violence,” Ramaphosa said. “Many small and medium-sized businesses, formal and informal, have lost everything and will not be able to rebuild on their own. We will not abandon them.”

The president moved the country to an adjusted virus alert level 3, from alert level 4, after a third wave of Covid-19 cases peaked and the government’s vaccination program gathered pace.

Alcohol sales, which have been banned for the past four weeks, will now be permitted at retail outlets from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Thursday, and at restaurants and bars up to 8 p.m. A moratorium on leisure travel in some areas was revoked, while gatherings of as many as 50 people will be allowed indoors and as many as 100 outdoors. A curfew will be imposed from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.

An average of about 12 000 new Covid-19 cases were detected daily in South Africa last week, a 20% decline on the week before, although the situation varied widely from area to area. Infections continued to climb in the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Northern Cape provinces.

“Infections remain high and we must continue to exercise caution at all times,” Ramaphosa said.

The country has issued more than 6.3 million vaccines so far, and will have enough shots to last until the end of the year, with 31 million doses from Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer Inc. expected to arrive within in the next three months. Inoculations will be available to all those over the age of 18 from Sept. 1, the president said.

The rand fell 0.3% to 14.8882 per dollar at 8:21 a.m. in Johannesburg on Monday.

Other speech highlights:

  • Investigations into who instigated the violence continue and more arrests are expected.
  • The security forces will continue to be deployed at hot-spots.
  • The relief measures were possible because of improved revenue collection.
  • Details of who will be eligible for the welfare grants will be announced soon.
  • The alcohol industry will be allowed to defer the payment of excise duty for three months.
© 2021 Bloomberg

COMMENTS   13

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Where exactly will govt get this money ??
Why bother paying insurance if govt bails out the uninsured ?
Without increasing taxes ,money will just be printed as was the case in Zimboland ,:

Those BOZO academics (living off the state) at UCT were happy that the Government are giving grants…

Someone should remind these BOZO’s that it costs the South African Tax Payers ( Those that work productively for the Economy) hard earned money!

What about performance bonuses for the rioters! I never see our people as energized as when they are looting and striking just like our politicians when stealing. Who knows what could be achieved if this enthusiasm was directed constructively?

Jip — they should choose some looters for the springbok rugby team — Those okes can run with a fridge on their backs !!!

Since Nelson Mandela’s dream of a rainbow nation died with him, The ruling “regime” has taken the country to the depths of JUNK. Food job ANC. They purport to “help the poor.” So, by making millions more poorer they can help more people. 3.rd world! 3rd world! 3rd world!

Good old Madiba, talk is cheap and may get you a Nobel prize, but running a country buys the whiskey, different story altogether, one he definitely didn’t get!!!

An admission that the dream of jobs has just been a lie all along.

Its obvious that with no electricity there cant be growth and with the type of “people” without any skill requiring jobs even if you could create jobs it would have to be taken up by foreigners.

The R350 is the symbol of the indignity the poor recipients will suffer.

A welfare state is a failed state.

The anc now has numerous reasons to buy votes and the voters will keep getting what they deserve. NOTHING!!!!

This bunch of thugs has the uneducated poor exactly where they want them.

Business Day mentions a figure of 9.5 million who will benefit.

It should read, “who will vote ANC again”

Where will it come from? Easy answer there, from the pockets of the hated colonialist who has kept this bunch of thieves in pocket money from 1994 to date.

The faithful 5% should all be awarded honorary SA citizenship, even better tax the taxi industry and we can have a tax holiday, wish!!!!

But elections are suspended……can anyone see what’s happening here?

The split within the ANC has revealed its rotten core to the world. There can be no future for SA until the rot is cast out and permanently destroyed. Unfortunately and just like all other attempts to bring a smattering of justice into this den of iniquity, the rot is so deep and so extensive that it is able to protect itself with impunity. In any case it will take fearless people with genuine integrity not a smattering of wimps with weak knees.

Recently spoke with a Zimbabwean who came here years ago to teach and escape the Mugabe regime. When a person from a failed state declares “The writing is on the wall. These are all the warning signs.” then you need to heed the advice. You cannot expect a well-made product (ie a productive, responsible and accountable citizen) when the production process (lack of quality education, role models and true economic opportunity) utterly lacks quality assurance. Millions of children born each year (when contraception and counselling is free and readily available), when only 33.8% of children grow up with both parents. Broken generation after broken generation. Family is a powerful architect of moral values and identity. When all that you have been taught is to stick out a begging hand, that is all you will do. This R350 grant symbolises something akin to economic slavery – a human’s economic future can be bought for R350 a month.

Ramaphosa and friends just took SA from bad to worse.We’re in deep trouble!
At least i can enjoy a cold Windhoek, that is if the power stays on.

End of comments.

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