Millions of needy South Africans who were benefiting from the monthly special Covid-19 social relief of distress grant of R350 can breathe a sigh of relief.
This is after President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday announced that the grant would be extended for another three months.
Delivering his state of the nation address, Ramaphosa said: “We have therefore decided to extend the period for the special Covid-19 grant of R350 by a further three months. This has proven to be an effective and efficient short-term measure to reduce the immediate impact on the livelihoods of poor South Africans.”
The R350 temporary social grant was introduced after the emergence of the deadly coronavirus in March last year, but it was cancelled towards the end of 2020. The government has since been under pressure to reinstate the temporary relief measure as the country remains under the adjusted alert level 3 lockdown.
The political pressure on the governing ANC also came from its alliance partners, such as Cosatu and the SACP, and other social partners at Nedlac.
Ramphosa said the government had resolved to also extend the Temporary Employment Relief Scheme aimed at retrenched workers or those earning less than their normal salaries, under the auspices of the UIF.
“We have also decided to extend the Covid-19 TERS [Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme] benefit until March 15 2021, only for those sectors that have not been able to operate. The conditions of this extension and the sectors to be included will be announced after consultations with social partners at Nedlac.
“The National Treasury will work with its partners and stakeholders on improvements to the loan guarantee scheme so that it better addresses the realities of SMMEs and other businesses as they strive to recover.
“We will work with our social partners to ensure that these and other interventions provide relief to those who most need it,” said Ramaphosa.
by Amanda Khoza