South Africa: COVID-19 and Social Grants - Relief Measures Welcome, but Not Enough

analysis

About 17 million South Africans rely on social grants for their household income and food security. So how have the twin components of social distancing and economic relief measures been experienced by poor South Africans dependent on social grants?

The South African government has been lauded for its decisive intervention to implement a lockdown and physical distancing to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on the healthcare system. The ensuing tension between combatting a health crisis and precipitating an economic collapse has been the subject of much public comment - about the economy, about small business and about employment.

The government has also received accolades for heeding the call from civil society, academics and communities to provide social and economic relief measures to mitigate the impact of the lockdowns. These measures included underwriting bank loans from commercial banks to businesses, rejigging the 2020 budget to shift money to healthcare and to the provinces, increasing social grants and providing food vouchers and packages.

Prior to the lockdown, some 17 million South Africans were relying on social grants for their household income and food security. So how have the twin components of social distancing and economic relief measures worked for poor South Africans...

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