The temporary extension of the R350 Social Relief of Distress grant by another month will cost the South African fiscus R27 billion, the National Treasury has revealed.
The Department revealed this during a press briefing in which it detailed the country’s Economic Support Package as a result of COVID restrictions and the recent riots in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. The package was first announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday.
The SRD, which was first introduced in April last year, will now end in March 2022.
“And really this responds to the dire situation in which most of our people have found themselves, said Finance Minister Tito Mboweni. “If you drive around the country or walk around the country, you are bound to notice the extreme poverty in which our people live.”
The R350, no matter how small it might be, he said, “goes a long way to assisting our people”.
“This will cost about R27 billion which we have to find in the system. Looking after our own is not just a cost, but it is an investment that we should see going forward.”
Treasury Director-General Dondo Mogajane said: “Immediately, we will set certain processes in place for the Department of Social Development to access the R26.7 billion as part of this package that will make sure that we support vulnerable households, those who qualify.”
In addition, R950 million had been allocated to the South African Police Service and South African National Defence in their efforts to restore peace and stability in the wake of the chaotic scenes of violence the country saw recently. Of this, R250 million would go to the SAPS while the remainder would bolster SANDF coffers.
Mboweni said the money would assist the two law enforcement agencies to be able to execute the tasks delegated by the President.
“But may I hasten to add, it is not about the police, it is not about the defence force, it is about us in our communities to ensure that peace and stability returns to our communities.
“It is us who know the looters. It is us who know who destroyed the ATM, who destroyed the branches of banks, which makes it difficult for cash to flow, in KZN in particular.
“It is us in the community who must take responsibility for the safety and security of our assets,” he said.
He said the Department had reprioritised a certain budget, in particular within the departments of Small Business Development in the Trade, Industry and Competition.
The total package of support going to that intervention in supporting businesses totals an amount of R2.3 billion that is there. He said there was an extra R1.3 billion that will go towards this.
About R5.3 billion in intervention was being availed to the Unemployment Insurance Fund.
Source: South African Government News Agency