Tito Mboweni explains why government brought back R350 grant
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Johannesburg - Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has allocated more than R27 billion for the payment of R350 social relief of distress grants to eligible unemployed people in the country.
Payment to the qualifying recipient is expected to be made soon by the Finance Ministry, Ministry of Social Development and Sassa.
Mboweni made the announcement on Wednesday in a virtual media briefing where he outlined the motive behind the reintroduction of the R350 grant.
The minister and his officials warned that this was not an extension of the grant which was terminated in May this year, but a reintroduction of it.
Finance Ministry director-general Dondo Mogajane allayed fears that the country was likely to borrow money from other financial institutions and rejected the view. According to government officials, cash will come from the Finance Ministry following its ability to meet its revenue targets.
The media were also told by the head of the South African Revenue Services, Edward Kieswetter, that there was an increase in compliance by major companies, especially the mining sector, which allowed the government to assist the unemployed people in the country.
Mboweni also rejected claims that his reintroduction of the grant was due to pressure from the the governing party ahead of the local government elections, possibly in February next year.
In his reply, Mboweni said: “We operate within a society which experiences a lot of distress. Any carrying government will come to the support of its citizens. There was no pressure from the governing party. There was no pressure from Luthuli House. Did I get a call from Jessie Duarte, deputy secretary general of the governing party? No, she hasn’t (called).
“This was a conversation between the Ministry of Finance and the Presidency. We debated this issue at length and President Cyril Ramaphosa, through his negotiation skills while a trade union leader, convinced us to release the R27bn,” Mboweni said.
According to Mboweni and his officials, the government has set aside a total amount of R38.6bn, and some of the cash will be allocated to some of the businesses which were affected by the violent protests in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.