President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a R500 billion economic response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The announcement was made on Day 26 of a national lockdown that is expected to continue until the end of April. The lockdown has imposed restrictions that have left many people in the country financially strained.
“The pandemic requires an economic response that is equal to the scale of the disruption it is causing,” said Ramaphosa.
R500 billion amounts to 10% of South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The stimulus package is divided into three phases, with the recent R500 billion announcement being the second phase.
South Africa has a high unemployment rate which currently sits at 29.%. Following the economic relief announcement, millions will be able to claim money from the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), receive food vouchers and food parcels.
Government also plans to distribute water to parts of the country which remain without water.
The money will also be used to improve sanitisation of public transport including taxis, which are currently permitted to carry only 70% of their normal load in efforts to curb the coronavirus transmission.