Johannesburg – President Cyril Ramaphosa’s bold R500 billion stimulus package to help revive the economy as the country battles to fight the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic has been largely welcomed by opposition political parties.
Ramaphosa announced the package on Tuesday night. It will include an increase in spending on health to help procure essential personal protective equipment and other needed goods.
The package will also include an expansion of the social grant system which will see grant recipients receive additional money for the next six months, R300 in May and R500 from June. The unemployed will also get to benefit with a payment of R 350 from the coronavirus relief scheme.
Municipalities and businesses struggling with the closure of the economy will also benefit from various schemes.
Ramaphosa’s announcement was received well by many, but some cautioned its application. Pressure had been mounting for the government to come up with a social and economic package to help decrease the caused by the closure of economic activity.
The DA said the package was welcomed.
“The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes President Ramaphosa’s announcement tonight of a suite of economic support measures to counteract the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on individual South Africans, on businesses and on our economy as a whole. This R500bn package will bring much needed relief to South Africans through grants, business relief, tax measures, additional healthcare budget and food programmes,” DA leader John Steenhuisen said.
The party also welcomed Ramaphosa’s remarks that the National Treasury had begun approaching international financial systems, such as the International Monetary Fund, for economic relief funds.
This decision has not been welcomed by the EFF. The red berets have long been critical of financial institutions such as the IMF accusing the organisation of imposing unrealistic conditions on loans and interest rates.
The party said in a statement on Tuesday night, that Ramaphosa’s next address should focus on solutions to saving the school academic year. It said the government should look at measures such as access to technology and zero-rating data access to educational content.
Ramaphosa is expected to address the nation on Thursday night with regards to the lockdown.
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u have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the government’s 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999 or go to SA Coronavirus for more information.
By Zintle Mahlati