South Africa’s COVID-19 billions reaching recipients – Ramaphosa

AFRICAN MIRROR REPORTER

THE billions aimed at providing relief to millions of South Africans facing economic hardships as a result of the COVID-19 shutdowns are reaching its desired recipients, President Cyril Ramaphosa has revealed.

In April, the South African government announced an R500-billion social relief and economic support package as its coronavirus response and assist businesses, workers, and households.

Ramaphhosa said that over 4.4-million people have now received the special COVID-19 grant, which assists those who are unemployed and do not receive other forms of support.

“So far, an amount of R2.2-billion has been paid out to these recipients.  There were delays in paying this amount but future payments will be made more quickly now that the necessary systems are in place. As we announced, this grant will continue to be paid over the full six-month period.  This special COVID-19 assistance has provided essential support to the most vulnerable people in our country,” Ramaphosa said.

He said for the months of April, May and June, the Unemployment Insurance Fund’s special COVID-19 benefit has paid out R34-billion, assisting over seven-and-a-half million workers and preventing retrenchments in a number of companies.

This scheme has now been extended by another 6 weeks to August 15, 2020.

Ramaphosa added: “We continue to provide assistance – in the form of loans, grants and debt restructuring – to small businesses, spaza shop owners and other informal businesses.  Special assistance has also been provided to businesses in the tourism, sports and creative industries. To date, a total of R1.5-billion in support has been provided to all these businesses.

”In partnership with the banks, through the R200-billion loan guarantee scheme, financial support has been provided to more than 8,600 small and medium-sized companies to the value of R12-billion.  The rules of the scheme have been adjusted to expand the eligibility criteria and increase uptake, making it easier for businesses to access finance during this period. I am confident that we will be seeing more companies making use of this facility going forward. Over R70 billion in tax relief has also been provided to companies.”