ANC sub-committee plans to deal with impact of high inflation

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The African National Congress (ANC) sub-committee on social transformation will be implementing various interventions to alleviate the impact of high cost of living on ordinary South Africans.  This includes expansion of vat exemptions on certain food items, deepening the social security system, strengthening cooperative banks to support small medium enterprises and converting the Social Relief of Distress Grant into a national minimum wage.

Opposition parties have poured cold water on the ruling party’s plans around social support arguing that people want jobs, not grants.

For a couple of years South Africans have been facing a high cost of living crisis, characterised by high inflation and elevated interest rates.

The ANC says the proposed interventions will improve millions of lives. Chairperson of the ANC’s Social Transformation Sub-committee, Zweli Mkhize elaborates.

“The issue of the transport subsidy is something that government will have to work on and emphasise. Around the issue of the National Minimum Wage, the focus should be on trying to make sure that it is sensitive to inflation, it does create a distorted situation when the national minimum wage is not able to give relief in line with inflation. The other area which is a matter of concern raised by students is the student accommodation that has to be capped because there’s a lot of price gorging that has been identified at that level.”

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has rejected assertions that it will stop social grants if it were to take up office. The party says it will protect social grants to protect the most vulnerable in society from extreme poverty.

But the DA Head of Policy Matthew Cuthbert says they would prefer to see less people reliant on the state and more people in employment.

“If we look at the child grant, they continuously say we want to make sure that this is converted into a basic income grant and the same with the SRD. And in the Minister of Finance’s speech they only increased the child social grant by R20, whereas our proposal as the Democratic Alliance is to increase it up to the food poverty line which is an increase of R250, and we’ve been able to model this, we understand how we’ll be able to afford it and how we’ll be able to implement it if we come into government.”

RISE Mzansi Gauteng Provincial Convenor, Tebogo Moalusi, says creating jobs on the back of the existing infrastructure backlog is the first priority.

“We cannot grow and we cannot build if the very basic elements are broken. When we go and meet people in town halls, they say we do not want grants, we want jobs. There’s a deep indignity about standing in line as a capable young citizen, who is able to work, for R350 in a country of your upbringing and your birth right. And so, creating jobs is one of the fundamental things that we deal with.”