Extend R350 relief grant, ANC urges government after NEC lekgotla

Long queues form outside the Sassa office in Eerste River, Cape Town. The grant was discontinued in October but the government has been under pressure to reinstate the temporary relief measure. File picture.
Long queues form outside the Sassa office in Eerste River, Cape Town. The grant was discontinued in October but the government has been under pressure to reinstate the temporary relief measure. File picture.
Image: Esa Alexander

The ANC wants the government to consider extending the R350 relief grant paid to unemployed South Africans to mitigate the economic affect of Covid-19.

The R350 temporary social grant was introduced early last year after the emergence of the coronavirus, but was discontinued in October.

The government has since been under pressure to reinstate the temporary relief measure as the country remains under the adjusted lockdown alert level 3. Pressure has also come from the ANC's alliance partners, such as Cosatu and the SACP.

The decision to stop the grant has also been slated by civil society organisations.

The SACP and Cosatu have also argued that the grant be converted into a universal basic income grant.

In his closing remarks after the weekend lekgotla of the ANC national executive committee, the party's highest decision making structure between national conferences, Ramaphosa said they had resolved that government should extend the R350 grant as the pandemic persists.

“The lekgotla has agreed that, in the context of the continuing Covid pandemic, we need to consider the extension of basic income relief to unemployed people who do not receive any other form of state assistance,” Ramaphosa said.

Ramaphosa did not explain by how many months would the grant be extended nor how it would be financed given the dire state of the public purse, only saying the extension of the income grant “would depend on the state of public finances and that there should be a clear exit strategy”.

“The meeting agreed that the national loan guarantee scheme must be fundamentally restructured to improve its accessibility and it should enable the participation of non-bank SMME funders.”

Economic and financial experts have suggested that the basic income grant should in the region of R1,000 to R1,500.

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