'No one sleeps at a post office for fun': SA welcomes R350 Covid-19 grant extension

16 October 2020 - 10:29
By cebelihle bhengu AND Cebelihle Bhengu
The SA Social  Security Agency will pay the R350 special Covid-19 grants for a further three months.
Image: Gallo Images / Alet Pretorius The SA Social Security Agency will pay the R350 special Covid-19 grants for a further three months.

The R350 special Covid-19 grant is trending on Twitter after President Cyril Ramaphosa tabled his economic recovery plan on Thursday.

Ramaphosa’s plan is expected to ease the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy.

The president said the grant proved was a lifeline for millions of unemployed South Africans and their families who would have struggled without it. It will now be paid for a further three months.

Ramaphosa said the government had paid about R40bn in additional support, which reached more than 6 million beneficiaries and about 17 million citizens from poor households. 

“We will be extending the special Covid-19 grant by a further three months. This will maintain a temporary expansion of social protection and allow the labour market sufficient time to recover,” he said.

“As these and other 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.”

SA Communist Party president Blade Nzimande called on the government two weeks ago to convert the grant to a “universal basic income guarantee”.

“The special Covid-19 social relief of distress grant of R350 per month has offered a survival lifeline to millions. But that grant is due to expire at the end of this month. We cannot allow this to happen,” Nzimande said.

Cosatu endorsed the extension and said it is a “basis for the basic income grant".

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Former Gauteng premier Mbhazima Shilowa said this was a good move by the government.

“To understand why the R350 relief fund should be extended, at least to the end of the financial year, you just need to look at queues outside post offices. You have to be heartless not to feel for such people. No one goes to sleep outside an office in the cold for fun,” he tweeted.

Here’s a glimpse into the responses on social media: