Will the government reintroduce the R350 grant? Presidency clarifies

22 July 2021 - 09:15
Acting minister in the presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni addressed questions around the R350 special grant.
Acting minister in the presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni addressed questions around the R350 special grant.
Image: GCIS

The government is considering the payment of basic income grants to provide much-needed assistance to businesses and individuals, said the acting minister in the presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni on Wednesday. 

Ntshavheni was briefing the media on the government's response to the unrest that ravaged KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

She said while the violence in the two provinces has worsened the plight of the poor, the government has long deliberated on the issue of basic income grants as some individuals and businesses have not been able to recover from income losses due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“The basic income grant discussion started from the governing party when they were saying, 'how do we sustainably support South Africans who are not able to earn an income?’ The government is discussing possible interventions to assist communities, households and businesses that have been affected by the unrest and impact of Covid-19,” said Ntshavheni. 

Asked whether the government would reintroduce the R350 Covid-19 social distress relief grant, Ntshavheni said discussions between the government and partners were ongoing.

“I will not want to venture and pre-empt cabinet's decision on the proposals that are on the table from either social partners or ourselves as government ministers,” said the minister.

Ntshavheni said President Cyril Ramaphosa would address the nation once a decision has been reached. 

Meanwhile, the labour and employment department has extended payments of the Covid-19 temporary employer/employee relief scheme (Ters) to July 25, to employees of companies affected by the current alert level 4 lockdown, and of businesses that haven't been able to fully operate in the previous lockdowns since March.

Acting Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) commissioner Mzie Yawa said the funds will be paid directly to employees. 

We have learnt the lesson from the previous phases that some unscrupulous employers did not advance the funds to their employees, and it is for that reason we have opted for this mode of payment,” said Yawa.


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