14 September 2021
Written by Sphe J Hadebe
SOUTH AFRICANS are in for a huge disappointment after the Finance Minister made an announcement on Tuesday.
It will be remembered that in July, Cyril Ramaphosa made an announcement during his address to the nation, where he said that the government has decided to reinstate the R350 Social Relief Distress fund.
The funds, which started being paid last year at the beginning of Level 5 lockdown, was meant to assist the unemployed people and those who lost their jobs due to covid-19 or lockdown.
Unfortunately the government could not continue to pay them further. It was only in August that Cyril announced the reinstatement.
There were hopes, as the Minister of Social development had said that the funds will continue further even after March 2022, which was the date stated that it will end.
Minister Lindiwe Zulu had mentioned that they were looking to make it as Basic Income Grant and it will continue further to he permanent.
Unfortunately, the Minister of Finance, seems to think otherwise.
Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana said in a presentation during the ANC’s recently lekgotla – as reported by the Sunday Times – that the party’s “wish list” could cost upwards of R73.5 billion.
Gondongwana, who is also the party’s head of economic transformation, said the ANC’s proposed spending spree – which includes R10 billion for the Land Bank and R4.6 billion for unpaid e-tolls in Gauteng – would require trade-offs.
Godongwana said the projects would cut even deeper into South Africa’s already deteriorating fiscal capacity, “as measured by the variation of own tax revenue as a percentage of domestic output”.
On the matter of Basic Income Grant, the Minister made his point that there is NO MONEY FOR BASIC INCOME GRANT (BIG).
Godongwana at the time said the funds set aside for the BIG should instead be used as a grant to benefit unemployed black youths in South Africa.
"My argument is that we must invest in them. Even the amount we may spend could be more than a grant. We can’t condemn young people to a cycle of dependence, particularly because these are young black kids."
Godongwana has been very vocal on creating jobs and skills instead of handing out money.
His proposal would benefit millions of young people who face an uncertain future – South Africa has approximately 4.2 million unemployed citizens between the ages of 15 and 35.
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