- The Social Relief of Distress Grant introduced by President Cyril Ramaphosa during the Covid-19 pandemic will come to an end in October
- The Department of Social Development is working on a new universal basic income grant that will take over when the SRD grant ends
- Minister Lindiwe Zulu unveiled this at a virtual briefing over the controversial grants situation
South Africa will be introducing a universal basic income grant as part of a range of packages to help the country’s unemployed, said Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu.
The minister, however, did not provide details of how the grant would be funded or its amount, but told a virtual press briefing it would be paid ‘post-October'.
Speaking during a government social cluster briefing on 13 July, Zulu said historic and emergent factors, in particular the Covid-19 pandemic, had spurred discussions on how the poor will continue accessing support once the R350 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant is discontinued.
The Covid-19 pandemic prompted President Cyril Ramaphosa to announce the SRD grant which is being paid until the end of October.
During the pandemic, the country's unemployment rate has also soared to a 10-year high and there are concerns about what will happen when the SRD grant is no longer paid out, said BusinessTech.
To address these concerns, the Department of Social Development said it is working on a policy proposal on the feasibility of income support to South Africans aged between the ages of 18 and 59 who have no income support.
The Daily Maverick reported that Zulu said:
"Since we already have categorical grants for children, older persons and persons with disabilities, the BIG will be an income support grant for the population aged 18 to 59."
The government is considering implementing the basic income grant when the SRD grant ends in October.
The ANC proposes paying a R500 monthly grant to those aged 19 to 59 who aren’t normally eligible for other aid and this would would cost the state R197.8 billion a year. Between 50% and 60% of the money could be recouped by levying extra taxes on those with jobs, it said.
Meanwhile, Briefly.co.za reported that the alcohol industry said it was blindsided by the immediate return of the ban on sales and distribution of alcohol.
The sector said that the move will have a massive economic impact with job losses expected to take place.
The National Liquor Traders Council, South African Liquor Brandowners Association, the Beer Association of SA, Vinpro, and the Liquor Traders Association of SA issued a joint statement signalling their disappointment.
The industry pointed out that almost one million citizens are expected to be affected. This will likely exacerbate the unemployment problem that has already been severely affected by the pandemic.
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