Treasury sets aside R100 billion in response to jobs emergency
JOHANNESBURG – The National Treasury has set aside R100 billion for a multi‐year, comprehensive response to the country’s jobs emergency, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said.
When delivering the Supplementary Budget Speech on Wednesday Mboweni said the latest figures from Statistics SA showed that unemployment was the country’s single greatest challenge.
“The President’s job creation and protection initiative will be rolled out over the medium‐term. It will include a repurposed public employment programme and a Presidential Youth Employment Intervention.
“In this year, an amount of R6.1bn is already allocated, and a further R19.6 billion has been set aside mainly for this purpose,” he said.
In his speech, Mboweni noted that as of mid‐June, the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) had provided R23 billion in Covid‐19 relief to more than 4.7 million workers affected by the pandemic.
“This has required a huge upgrade and repurposing of the UIF system to deal with the increase in mostly online applications and to build in protections against fraud. We thank all involved for the upgrade, there were many individuals from the private and NGO sector who volunteered their time to assist the UIF. There are still challenges but we are confident that the team is working tirelessly to iron them out,” he said.
South African joblessness is expected to reach record highs in the second quarter of 2020 when the country tallies the impact of the coronavirus on the economy.
Mboweni said more than 18 million South Africans had received a temporary Covid‐19 grant. The roll-out of the short‐term Special Relief of Distress grant will temporarily support those without an income.
“An additional 1.5 million people have received these already. To support vulnerable households an additional allocation of R25.5 billion to the Social Development department is proposed, for a total relief package of R41 billion,” he said.
However, the Finance Minister said all these measures would come to an end in October.