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Saving lives and the economy: five takes from Ramaphosa's R500bn plan

22 April 2020 - 12:53 By Unathi Nkanjeni
President Cyril Ramaphosa unveiled a R500bn Covid-19 relief package on Tuesday night.
President Cyril Ramaphosa unveiled a R500bn Covid-19 relief package on Tuesday night.
Image: GCIS

On Tuesday President Cyril Ramaphosa unveiled a R500bn relief package, which amounts to 10% of GDP, to support SA's ailing economy during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The relief plan will re-prioritise R130bn of expenditure from existing budgets, with the rest to be raised from local and international financial institutions, Ramaphosa told the nation.

Here are five takes from the address.

Health-care response

The president has allocated R20bn for immediate health-care response.

“If we are to successfully manage the anticipated surge in cases and ensure that everyone who needs treatment receives it, we must provide for additional expenditure on personal protective equipment for health workers, community screening, an increase in testing capacity, additional beds in field hospitals, ventilators, medicine and staffing.”

Saving jobs 

Ramaphosa said an additional R100bn would be set aside to protect existing jobs and to create new jobs.

“The coronavirus crisis will lead to many people losing their jobs. Since the declaration of a state of national disaster over a month ago, the government has put in place a range of measures to support workers’ wages and assist companies in distress.”

Increase in social grant

“Child-support grant beneficiaries will receive an extra R300 in May and, from June to October, will receive an additional R500 each month. All other grant beneficiaries will receive an extra R250 per month for the next six months.

“In addition, a special Covid-19 social relief of distress grant of R350 a month for the next six months will be paid to individuals who are now unemployed and do not receive any other form of social grant or UIF payment.”

R100m turnover

The turnover threshold for tax deferrals has been increased to R100m a year.

“Businesses with a turnover of more than R100m a year can apply directly to Sars, case-by-case, for deferrals of their tax payments.

“No penalties for late payments will be applicable if they can show they have been materially negatively affected in this period.”

Radical economic transformation

The government will forge a compact for radical economic transformation for women, youth and people with disabilities.

“Our new economy must be founded on fairness, empowerment, justice and equality. It must use every resource, every capability and every innovation we have in the service of the people of this country.

“Our new economy must open new horizons and offer new opportunities.”