Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu has defended the government stance to scrap the payment of the Temporary Employer/Employee Scheme (Ters) benefits.
MINISTER in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu has defended the government stance to scrap the payment of the Temporary Employer/Employee Scheme (Ters) benefits.
Addressing journalists at a post-cabinet briefing on Thursday, Mthembu said the scheme was not meant to be indefinite.
“Ters benefits had a particular timeline by the way. They were not indefinite so they had a particular timeline and we are sticking to that timeline,” he said.
“We have not deviated from the timeline that was announced by the president as it relates to those benefits,” Mthembu said.
He made the comment as unions and businesses pushed for the scheme, introduced in March, to fall in line with the duration of the national lockdown ending on November 15.
The payments made by the UIF would run up until the month of September.
Mthembu also announced that the cabinet has endorsed the sitting of the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) next week.
He said the cabinet would first deliberate the outcomes of the NCCC before President Cyril Ramaphosa makes an address to the nation.
“Yes, definitely, lets confirm next we will have the NCCC sitting and after NCCC, cabinet will indeed sit and deliberate on the discussions. After that, President Ramaphosa will brief the nation on the developments in South Africa as it relates to our management of the Covid-19 and the mitigation measures we have put in place to save lives and protect livelihoods.”
Mthembu said he did not know what the new plans the NCCC would be crafting but Ramaphosa would take the nation into his confidence on what it thinks ought to be done.
“The president when addressing the nation will have all the advice from specialists and experts… We are advised by health experts including behavioural change organisations on what we need to do and how we need to do it.”
Mthembu also said the government was concerned that some people were behaving recklessly and irresponsibly as if Covid-19 no longer existed.
“Cabinet calls on all people in South Africa to continue adhering to health protocols of practising social distancing, wearing masks all the time when in public and wash our hands with water and soap or alcohol based sanitizer.
“Again, we must avoid large gatherings because that is where infections happen. Such consistent behaviour remains the greatest defence in protecting ourselves and others from the virus,” he said.
“Our responsible actions will ensure we minimise the rates of infection while we continue to build and rebuild the economy,” Mthembu said.
The minister also announced that the cabinet has condemned the recent senseless and callous killing of police officers who dedicated their lives to serve and protect the people.
“The killing and attack on police officers is a direct attack on the rule of law and constitution of the Republic of South Africa.
“In fact, the attack on our policemen and women is an attack on our democracy,” he said,
Mthembu sent condolences to the families and friends of the officers who died in line of duty.
The cabinet also condemned the killing of eight people by unknown gunmen in Gugulethu on Monday.
“Cabinet wishes to assure the nation that the police working with communities and all law enforcement agencies will ensure that those involved in these criminal acts are arrested and face the full might of the law.
“We will, indeed, not rest as security forces within the state until these killers are arrested and face the law,” he added.