Molefe Seeletsa

By Molefe Seeletsa

Digital Journalist

Sona 2021: Government extends R350 grant, UIF Ters payments to some

'We will work with our social partners to ensure that these and other interventions provide the relief to those who most need it,' the President said on Thursday evening.

During the 2021 State of the Nation (Sona) address, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the extension special Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant (SRD) of R350 by a further three months.

“This has proven to be an effective and efficient short-term measure to reduce the immediate impact on the livelihoods of poor South Africans,” he said.

Ramaphosa also confirmed that the Unemployment Insurance Fund’s (UIF) Covid-19 Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (Ters) would be extended until 15 March 2021.

However, this extension would only be for sectors that have not been able to operate as yet due to lockdown regulations.

Click here to visit The Citizen’s home page for more coverage of Sona 2021

“The conditions of this extension and the sectors to be included will be announced after consultations with social partners at Nedlac (National Economic Development and Labour Council).

“The National Treasury will work with its partners and stakeholders on improvements to the loan guarantee scheme so that it better addresses the realities of SMMEs (Small, Medium & Micro Enterprise Businesses) and other businesses as they strive to recover.

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“We will work with our social partners to ensure that these and other interventions provide the relief to those who most need it,” he said.

Ramaphosa further revealed that relief measures worth R500 billion, or 10% of the country’s GDP, provided economic support to 18 million people in struggling households.

More than five million people were able to remain above the poverty line due to this, he said. 

The president added that the UIF Ters paid out more than R57 billion in wage support to at least 4.5 million workers since its implementation last year.

READ MORE: Sona 2021: Eskom will still fall short of power capacity over next five years

He said more than R1.3 billion was paid out to small and medium-sized businesses, which saw over R70 billion in tax relief. 

In addition, Ramaphosa said R18.9 billion in loans have been approved for 13,000 businesses through government’s loan guarantee scheme.

Additional reporting from Nica Richards.

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