R350 Covid-19 grant extended by 3 months
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Durban – President Cyril Ramaphosa told a joint sitting of Parliament on Thursday that South Africa’s Covid-19 grant would be extended for three months.
He said that the R350 grant – meant for the unemployed poor – was necessary as recovery measures were being rolled out to bring the country’s battered economy to some form of normalcy.
“As ... recovery measures are being rolled out, we need to do everything in our means to provide support to those in society who continue to face hunger and distress.
“We will therefore be extending the Special Covid-19 Grant by a further 3 months.
“This will maintain a temporary expansion of social protection and allow the labour market sufficient time to recover,” said the president.
He said that through the special Covid-19 grants and the top-up of existing grants, close to R40 billion in additional support had been provided directly to more than 17 million people from poor households.
“The Special Covid-19 Grant in particular represents a significant achievement, reaching more than 6 million unemployed people in a short space of time.”
Ramaphosa was addressing the joint sitting on the South African Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan, which he described as building on “the common ground established by the social partners – government, labour, business and community organisations – through intensive and detailed consultations over the last few months”.
The plan intended to drive growth that was inclusive and transformative, he said.
“It is informed by the work of Cabinet’s Economic Cluster working together with government departments and Cabinet itself and draws on the contributions of the leading economists who make up the Presidential Economic Advisory Council.”
South Africa’s already embattled economy was almost shattered by the government imposed hard lockdown to deal with the pandemic, which lasted three months. The country is still in lockdown level 1.
The president acknowledged this, saying the damage had been “colossal”.
Over two million citizens lost their jobs in the country’s second financial quarter, the economy contracted by 16.4% when compared to the previous quarter, and National Treasury has said it expects a significant shortfall in revenue collection.
“This economic shock is unprecedented in our country, and it will take an extraordinary effort to recover from it,” said the president.
African News Agency (ANA)