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New 'coronavirus grant' to help desperate South Africans

21 April 2020 - 21:48 By STHEMBILE CELE
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced increased social grants to help South Africans through the pandemic.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced increased social grants to help South Africans through the pandemic.
Image: GCIS

President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced an increase in social grants, including a new coronavirus grant.

The new grant, announced on Tuesday night, is for those who are not recipients of social grants and who have no income.

A total of R50bn of the R500bn economic and social relief package will be used to fund the measures to arrest the poverty crisis which has been greatly exacerbated by the nationwide lockdown and the impact of Covid-19 on the country.

Current recipients of the child grant will get an additional R300 in May, jumping to R500 extra from June to October.

Other grant recipients will receive an extra R250 per month for the next six months.

The newly-announced coronavirus grant will see individuals without employment and who are not social grant or UIF beneficiaries receiving R350 a month.

The president said the department of social development will in the coming days make the details of who is eligible for the grant available, as well as the process of application.

“We have recognised that the food distribution capacity of government is not adequate to meet the huge need that has arisen since the start of the epidemic,” said Ramaphosa.

“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.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on April 21 2020 that the South African government will make an additional R500bn available to assist in the fight against Covid-19. The money will come from reprioritising the country’s current budget and from international institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the New Development Bank (NDB). Here’s where the government will spend the money.

“In addition, to fill the immediate need, the department of social development has partnered with the Solidarity Fund, NGOs and community-based organisations to distribute 250,000 food parcels across the country over the next two weeks.”

The announcement follows a series of clashes with police, soldiers and residents in some communities where people had queued from the early hours of the morning in anticipation of food parcels but were left disappointed.

The president also issued a stern warning to those who reportedly sought to benefit from the distribution of food parcels at the expense of the most vulnerable.

“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,” he said.

Earlier this month the department of social development announced that it would be staggering grant payments to make it easier for people to adhere to social distancing regulations when collecting grant money.

“Lessons learnt from the last payment cycle during the national lockdown have compelled Sassa to review the payment dates going forward. As from the month of May 2020, disability and older persons grants will be paid from the fourth day of the month. All other grants will be paid from the sixth of every month,” said the department.

At the time of Ramaphosa's address on Tuesday evening, there were 3,465 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in SA, with the death toll standing at 58.