Proudly sponsored by

SA considering payment of relief grant after riots

Business and labour leaders are discussing the payment of a relief grant to alleviate suffering after the worst unrest since the end of apartheid.
Image: Moneyweb

South African government, business and labour leaders are discussing the payment of a relief grant to alleviate suffering after the worst unrest since the end of apartheid.

While labour and business leaders recognise the need for some assistance after the riots, there is a debate over whether the stipend should be temporary or the start of a form of a basic income grant. The violence that began after the imprisonment of former President Jacob Zuma left at least 215 people dead, devastated businesses and put jobs at risk.

“A grant needs to be sustainable and affordable within our constrained fiscal environment,” said Martin Kingston, vice president of Business Unity South Africa, a lobby group that represents many of the biggest companies in the country. “We therefore think there needs to be a reprioritisation of expenditure as well as an acceleration of implementation of structural reform. The reconstruction and recovery plan needs to be adjusted.”

The presidency declined to comment beyond confirming that discussions are taking place, while the Treasury said it would comment later.

South Africa’s Treasury in February slashed planned expenditure on everything from welfare and education to defense, after the economy last year contracted the most in a century because of the coronavirus pandemic.

President Cyril Ramaphosa on July 18 raised the possibility of a basic income grant in a speech, without giving any details. Last week’s violence could cost the country about R50 billion ($3.4 billion) in lost output and jeopardized at least 150 000 jobs, the presidency said on Tuesday.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions, the biggest labour federation, urged the government to restart the payment of a R350 ($23.80) a month grant that it had paid out for a period during the earlier stages of the pandemic.

‘Central pillar’

“We’re confident it will happen,” said Matthew Parks, the parliamentary coordinator for Cosatu. “The R350 Covid-19 grant is a central pillar. It needs to be reinstated across South Africa. It is a basic income grant in essence. It can be improved, enhanced, gremlins addressed once it’s implemented.”

The cost of reinstating the grant at that level would be R24 billion a year, he said.

Ramaphosa may announce the aid in coming days, Business Day reported, without saying where it got the information. Talks are being held between the presidency, the Treasury and the Department of Social Welfare about how large the payments would be, how long they would last and who would receive them, the Johannesburg-based newspaper said.

Monthly payments of as much as R595, the food poverty line, and as little as R350, the amount that was paid for a while during the pandemic, are being debated, the paper said. There is concern among some government departments that once started, the payments would be difficult to stop and would be the beginning of a basic income grant, it said.

© 2021 Bloomberg

COMMENTS   5

Sort by:
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Top voted

You must be signed in to comment.

SIGN IN SIGN UP

A Basic Income Grant will shore up the ANC’s voter campaign. It will also contribute to the debt ceiling being raised once again and more ratings agency downgrades. But who cares? As long as the ANC stay in power, the looting can continue.

That’s right, reward the looters and the majority voters for their sins. Cry the beloved country 🙁

Call it the tyre and matches grant.

So let’s try to understand this, now both the innocent & the looters will get a grant! At who’s expense, and there are some that are still confused why things are not getting better.

While extreme poverty in S.A. direly needs to be addressed, the ANC had ample time to prioritise this human tragedy over the past 25 years. Instead it spend billions on weapons that we don’t need and on SOE’s and municipalities that they just cant fix. That is of course without considering the wide spread looting over the past 24 years by the political leaders and their cronies appointed in top jobs.

Now, after a week of carnage and anarchy, now the want to reward the ugliest, maddest behaviour of their political base with a relief grant. So what they do is to reinforce carnage and anarchy.

What they should do, is to re-establish skills training centres, get the unemployed properly trained by the droves, get their own political act together so that offshore investment in industries and creation of goods and services can flourish and thereby creating an economy with full employment capacity. Anything else is short-term, Zim-style, unsupportable in the long run. We could have been at full capacity employment by now if they had continue on the path of Thabo Mbeki and Trevor Manuel – but no they liked tribal headman Zoo-ma and the socialised route more.

End of comments.

LATEST CURRENCIES  

USD / ZAR
GBP / ZAR
EUR / ZAR
BTC / USD

Podcasts

INSIDER SUBSCRIPTIONS APP VIDEOS RADIO / LISTEN LIVE SHOP OFFERS WEBINARS NEWSLETTERS TRENDING PORTFOLIO TOOL CPD HUB

Follow us:

Search Articles:
Click a Company: