The Democratic Alliance notes with concern reports that the National Command Council (NCC) has unilaterally decided not to extend the Covid-19 Ters benefit scheme beyond 15 October.
This is despite the fact that the national State of Disaster for Covid-19 has been extended to 15 November and that many workers will not be able to work for full pay under Level 1 of lockdown.
The Minister of Employment and Labour, Thulas Nxesi, must take the nation into his confidence and communicate clearly about the future of the Ters benefit. Organised business and labour have been in ongoing, careful discussions about the possible extension of the benefit at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac). Their work has now seemingly been unstitched by the shadowy NCC, which has charged into the arena like a bull in a china shop and single-handedly imposed a fiat when the outcome should be the product of collaborative decision-making.
This undermines good governance and underlines the arrogant and authoritarian nature of the NCC, which regards itself above oversight and accountability.
Since the government has seen fit to extend the lockdown (despite the disastrous economic consequences) and thereby deprived many workers of earning their full income, it has a duty to extend the Ters scheme in order to cover the shortfall.
If the government wants to take away with one hand, then it must be ready to provide with the other.
Minister Nxesi should make a public statement about the extension of the Ters benefit today.