Government brings back R350 social relief grant in wake of looting

25 July 2021 - 21:05 By gill gifford

President Cyril Ramaphosa says his government is taking “decisive action” to help the country's economy and hard-hit population.

Speaking during a national address on Sunday, the president announced a raft of measures aimed at assisting the country's economy — not just as it was battered by the coronavirus pandemic but also because of recent violence and looting which caused billions of rand in damage, left more than 300 dead and resulted in tens of thousands of lost jobs.

“We are taking decisive action now to secure the livelihoods of millions of people that have been threatened by both the pandemic and the unrest,” Ramaphosa said.

Among these measures was the return of the R350 social relief of distress grant — known as the “Covid-19 grant” — which will remain in place until the end of March 2022. The eligibility criteria would be extended to include more people, including unemployed caregivers currently receiving child care grants.

“In addition to the food relief being provided by the department of social development, government is contributing R400m to the Humanitarian Crisis Relief Fund established by the Solidarity Fund to assist with the immediate needs of affected communities,” he said.

Cyril Ramaphosa listed certain measures that will be put in place in order to aide businesses and help rebuild the country on July 25 2021. Subscribe to MultimediaLIVE here: https://www.youtube.com/user/TimesLive Comment Moderation Policy: https://www.timeslive.co.za/comments/

He added that other measures would be implemented to help businesses hard hit by recent looting to rebuild.

“Most importantly, the UIF will provide income support to all those employees who have lost jobs as a result of the recent unrest,” he said.

He said the Employment Tax Incentive would be extended for four months to include employees earning below R6,500 and employers encouraged to hire and retain employees, especially those in the retail and hospitality sectors.

“We will defer PAYE taxes for three months to provide businesses with additional cash flow, with an automatic deferral of 35% of PAYE liabilities for employers with revenue below R100m,” he said.

Relief was also granted to the alcohol sector.

“The payment of excise taxes by the alcohol sector will be deferred for a period of three months, to ease the burden on the sector as it recovers,” said Ramaphosa.

The president said the country was still coming to grips with the extent of the damage caused during the violent unrest, which was triggered by the imprisonment of former president Jacob Zuma.

“These interventions are designed to extend as much relief as possible to individuals and businesses that are in need of support, without compromising our fiscal sustainability. No country can expect its economy to grow, or to live in peace and harmony, while many of its citizens remain marginalised, hungry and excluded.

“The impact of recent events on our economy has made the implementation of our Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan even more important.

“We have been working closely with our social partners on the further measures we will take to address poverty, accelerate the implementation of reforms, drive inclusive growth and create jobs.

“We will shortly be able to make further announcements in this regard,” he said.

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