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Social relief of distress grant extended

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The payment of the special Covid-19 social relief of distress grant for the unemployed has been allocated R6.8 billion for an additional three months.

Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni delivered the Mid Term Budget speech in Parliament . Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

THE payment of the special Covid-19 social relief of distress grant for the unemployed has been allocated R6.8 billion for an additional three months.

The government has also made a R12.6bn allocation for the presidential employment interventions aimed to address unemployment among the youth.

This emerged yesterday when Finance Minister Tito Mboweni tabled his medium term budget policy statement in Parliament.

The allocation towards the special Covid grant comes on the heels of the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa earlier this month extending the grant aimed for the unemployed until January 2021.

This came months after Ramaphosa announced R50bn to relieve those desperately affected by the Coronavirus for six months.

Child support beneficiaries received an additional R300 in May and from June to October R500 while other grants were to be topped up with R250.

Delivering the medium-term budget policy statement, Mboweni said the cabinet has decided to extend the Social Relief of Distress grant to the end of January 2021.

“Because this grant is so effective in reaching the unemployed, we propose to redirect R6.8 billion from the public employment programme allocation.

“The temporary increases in other grants will unfortunately have to come to an end,” he said.

“This adjustment appropriation also adds R1 billion for food relief to fight hunger,” Mboweni added.

The minister reported that during the lockdown, cash grants were paid to over 22 million people.

Seven million people accessed the Temporary Employment Relief Scheme and six million people received the special Covid-19 social relief of distress grant.

Mboweni also announced the allocation of R12.6 billion as part of the presidential employment intervention scheduled to run from October until March 2021.

“The provincial equitable share is augmented by R7 billion to support jobs at fee-paying public schools and government-subsidised independent schools.

“R600 million goes to employ early childhood development and social workers,” he said.

He also said R2 billion was allocated to Working for Fire, Working for Water and Working for Forests.

“The rest of the allocation from the employment initiative is divided between the transport, arts, sports and culture, health and agricultural sectors.”

According to the medium term budget policy statement, R1m has been allocated to Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development for the retention of self-employed subsistence producers.

The Health Department would receive R393 571 for the recruitment of outreach team leaders, community health workers, enrolled nurses and auxiliary nurses.

R630 000 would be allocated for the creation of jobs for provincial roads maintenance though the S’hamba Sonke Programme and R665 000 for creation of jobs across the arts, culture, heritage and sports sector.