Cyril Ramaphosa announces COVID-19 economic stimulus package

President Cyril Ramaphosa. Photo: GCIS

Ramaphosa: Social grant beneficiaries to receive an increase

Ramaphosa announced a relief package of R500 billion to ensure the recovery of areas affected by the current crisis facing the country.

Cyril Ramaphosa announces COVID-19 economic stimulus package

President Cyril Ramaphosa. Photo: GCIS

Addressing the nation on the evening of Tuesday 21 April, President Cyril Ramaphosa said that R500 billion will be spent to ensure that South African households do not go hungry during the financial turmoil brought on by the deadly virus.

“This is a historic moment,” he said. “We will not spare any effort or expense to protect our people from harm. We must do whatever it takes to recover from this human, social and economic crisis.”

“We will never be the same,” he said.

SASSA grants increased

Ramaphosa saiid that ensuring that South Africans don’t go hungry was the number one priority.

He said that the national bailout would be funded by several other global institutions such as the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF)

“The fund will be used foremost to address hunger and poverty. R50 billion will be put forward to addressing social problems.”

Ramaphosa announced an increase to social grants, with the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) set to pay out an extra R350 to child support beneficiaries for the month of May, with an extra R500 for the months of June and July.

Other grant beneficiaries will receive an extra R250 for the next six months.

Ramaphosa announced that a “Coronavirus Fund” would be established that will contribute to unemployed people who currently don’t qualify for any social grants.

They will receive R350 a month, with the Department of Trade and Industry tasked identifying a mechanism to locate such individuals and ensure relief to their suffering.

Food parcels

Ramaphosa admitted that food delivery to the country’s most vulnerable, with a myriad of technical and criminal obstacles having held up the swift delivery of essential goods to hungry members of South Africa’s most dire communities.

He said that corrupt officials who have been accused of diverting the distribution of urgent food parcels for profiteering and meeting their own ends would face the full might of the law.

“We are deeply disturbed by reports of unscrupulous people abusing the distribution of food and other assistance for corrupt ends. We will not hesitate to ensure that those involved in such activities face the full might of the law.”

Ramaphosa said that over 250 000 food parcels would be distributed to those going hungry in some of South Africa’s poorest communities over the next two weeks.

“The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) will within days implement a technology-based solution to roll out food assistance at scale through vouchers and cash transfers to ensure that help reaches those who need it faster and more efficiently,” he said.

Job losses to be remedied

He said that R100 billion would be made available to support job losses.

“This fund will also go towards ensuring that jobs are created,” he said.

He said that measure to assist those at risk of missing out on wages were set to be supported by the UIF ‘s relief fund.

“Since the declaration of a state of national disaster over a month ago, government has put in place a range of measures to support workers’ wages and assist companies in distress.”

“By the end of today, the UIF’s special COVID-19 benefit has paid out R1.6 billion, assisting over 37 000companies and 600 000 workers.”

He added that R40 billion has been set aside for income support payments for workers whose employers are not able to pay their wages.