The ANC may introduce another new relief fund for South Africans, in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic. It has been reported that a proposed R500 social grant could be made available to those who are not claiming any other benefits, with the project likely to be funded by a hike in taxes.
This is according to claims made by Bloomberg over the weekend. South Africa is facing a tax revenue shortfall of about R300 billion in the years to come, and it’s believed that the government is now willing to use this crisis to roll-out an ambitious – if not controversial – financial package for destitute citizens.
Apparently, those who fall under the following criteria would be allowed to claim the R500 social grant:
- Aged between 19 – 59.
- Have to be a permanent citizen in South Africa.
- Must not be in receipt of any other social grants.
TAXPAYERS WILL FOOT THE BILL, ACCORDING TO REPORTS.
The project is expected to cost the government R197 billion in total, should it get the go-ahead. However, with the idea set to be discussed by the ANC’s top brass on Sunday, it’s also believed that more than half of this will be financially supported with an as-yet-undisclosed tax increase.
The R500 social grant would cast the net wider for struggling citizens who desperately need support. But there will be doubts about the government’s administrative capacities. The R350 “Relief of Distress” grant was introduced in May, and a chaotic implementation by SASSA has left millions unpaid and fuming.
The department has been slow to process payments, as a raft of complaints about the system continue to flood-in. The temporary scheme is only set to last until October, but according to reports, it looks as if the government is willing to beef-up its efforts to provide funds for those worst-hit by COVID-19.