Government working on measures to support the unemployed

Thursday, March 30, 2023

President Cyril Ramaphosa has reaffirmed government’s commitment to fighting poverty and providing support to those who are unemployed as a core responsibility of the State.

“As we work to build the economy and create employment, we remain committed to finding appropriate mechanisms to support all those people who need assistance from the State within the resources available,” President Ramaphosa said.

The President on Thursday responded to questions for oral reply submitted by Members of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on the Social Relief Grant and the impact of load shedding on service delivery, among other matters.

This is the President’s first Q and A session in the NCOP since the State of the Nation Address on 9 February 2023.

President Ramaphosa said the implementation of the Social Relief of Distress Grant since 2020 has been one of the important achievements of the sixth administration.

“It has lifted millions of South Africans above the food poverty line at a time of great economic disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic and made a significant difference in the lives of many people.

“Social grants support economic growth from the bottom up, enable business activity and strengthen social solidarity and stability,” the President said.

According to research, the President said that approximately 50% of the purchases made by SRD grant recipients are groceries.

He highlighted that informal traders in various parts of the country have reported to researchers that the SRD Grant stimulated customer spending, provided capital to purchase stock, and enabled the new businesses to be initiated.

“This grant will be maintained until March 2024 while the economy continues to recover from the impact of the pandemic. Various options are being explored, taking into account affordability, financing options and efficacy in addressing poverty.

“There is a concerted effort within government to link current grant beneficiaries to various economic opportunities such as skills development, sustainable livelihood programmes and job creation initiatives,” the President said. –