EXPLAINER: Ramaphosa's three-point economic COVID-19 relief plan

The country is set to spend its way out of the COVID-19 economic trouble. President Cyril Ramaphosa’s aid package aims to put money in the hands of the poor, help businesses and introduce some tax relief. eNCA’s Devan Murugan takes a look at the numbers. #Day27ofLockdown Courtesy DStv403

PRETORIA - President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced an extraordinary R500-billion support package to stimulate the economy and protect millions of South Africans from hunger and social distress during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

He was addressing the nation on additional economic and social relief measures as part of the national response to COVID-19, with a further address promised for Thursday at which South Africans can expect to hear more about measures beyond the 35-day lockdown. 

WATCH: Ramaphosa addresses nation on COVID-19 economic measures

The economic response to the national disaster could be divided into three phases, Ramaphosa said. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa says 250,000 food parcels will be distributed over the next two weeks. He's warned that those stealing food packages will face the full might of the law. #Day27ofLockdown Courtesy #DStv403

Phase 1

In the first phase, measures would be implemented to mitigate the worst effects of the pandemic on business and individuals.

Measures include an increase in child support grants of an additional R300 next month and R500 per month from June to October.  

READ: Ramaphosa announces 6-months coronavirus relief grant

All other grant beneficiaries will receive an additional R250 monthly, while a special coronavirus grant of R350 per month would go to those who are unemployed and do not receive any other form of grant or UIF payment.

A priority was to provide relief for hunger and social distress which have deepened dramatically in communities countrywide as a result of lockdown.


Phase 2

The second phase seeks to stabilise the economy with a massive social relief and economic support package 

Ramaphosa said the R500-billion package directed to fighting the pandemic, was made up of R130-billion from the current budget with the balance to be raised from local sources as well as international partners and finance institutions.

Because the coronavirus pandemic had led to the loss of jobs, an additional R100-billion was being set aside to protect jobs, with R40-billion for income support payments for those whose employers could not pay their wages.

READ: What you need to know about UIF benefit

He said an additional R2-billion was going to assist SMEs and spaza shop owners. 

Various other support measures would assist artists, sportsmen and women, technical personnel, waste pickers and participants in public works programmes.

Phase 3

The third phase intends to drive the economy as the country emerges from this disaster.

A R200-billion loan guarantee scheme would assist enterprises with operational costs including salaries, rent and payment of suppliers, and numerous other schemes and tax relief were announced to assist business, details of which would be fleshed out by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni.

READ: Opposition parties react to Ramaphosa's COVID-19 relief plan

Ramaphosa once again thanked the public for their fortitude and sacrifice and said the lockdown, despite its devastating impact on the economy, had been the necessary response and South Africa would not spare any effort or expense to support and protect its people from harm.


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