Covid-19 | Ramaphosa, premiers and mayors agree to put ‘more cash in the hands of households’

Vulnerable South Africans are set to benefit with access to food parcels and vouchers as the South African Social Security Agency has set aside over R400 million for social relief, the Presidency said.

The Presidency issued a statement on Saturday, following a meeting of the President’s Coordinating Council (PCC) to discuss measures to strengthen the country’s response to Covid-19. The council consists of ministers, premiers, executive mayors, metropolitan municipalities and leaders of the South African Local Government Association.

The meeting focused on the need for relief to vulnerable South Africans. “The meeting agreed that measures should be put in place to ensure that more cash is put in the hands of households to induce economic activity in the medium term,” the Presidency said.

Government wants to provide relief for social distress by South Africans battling with a loss of income, food shortages and who have no access to water, due to the lockdown put in place to slow the spread of Covid-19, the Presidency said.

The council also discussed having structural reforms introduced for the SA economy. It agreed to regulations gradually being eased in various sectors until the economy is operating at full capacity once more. This would be guided by evidence of progress in containing the spread of the coronavirus, the Presidency said.

The president met with Nedlac on Friday, similarly to discuss economic measures to be taken following the lockdown. Cabinet is to meet on 20 April, where these options will be considered further. Labour had told Ramaphosa to temporarily boost welfare payments and improve the ease with which unemployment relief could be accessed, Bloomberg reported earlier.

According to the Presidency, since the lockdown over 100 000 households across the country have been provided with food parcels. More households are being targeted through the Solidarity Fund and Department of Social Development’s Disaster Relief Fund.

“The South African Social Security Agency has also set aside over R400 million for social relief of distress through food parcels and vouchers to be rolled out on a larger scale,” the Presidency said. The PCC wants these efforts to be expanded.

The PCC has also agreed to increase the provision of water across the country and to deliver relief to more households including the homeless and vulnerable groups.

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