South Africa: Hard Lessons of Hunger for the Governing ANC - and a Multi-Billion Rand Funding Hole

A South African government Twitter image, outlining an economic package announced on April 21, 2020.

Amid talk of a 'new economy... founded on fairness, empowerment, justice and equality', President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday evening announced a wide-ranging socio-economic package in which South Africa's poor and vulnerable emerged as significant beneficiaries. But exactly where the touted R500-billion will come from is not quite certain.

The temporary social grant increases for the next six months are unprecedented. The R445 monthly child care grant immediately almost doubles with the extra R300 due in May, and effectively more than doubles from June to October when an extra R500 is added. Other social grants are bolstered by R250 a month for six months. And a special Covid-19 grant of R350 a month for six months will go to those unemployed, but not yet receiving any grant support.

What is not quite clear are the details.

The qualifying criteria and applications process for the R350 monthly Covid-19 grant would be outlined by Social Development. That's the department fingered in the now-public acknowledgement by government of its inadequate food parcel distribution.

And as Social Development teams up with the Solidarity Fund to deliver 250,000 food parcels in the next weeks, the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) is implementing a technology-based system...

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