Government has sent out a strong message to businesses that only tax-compliant ones will be able to access funds from its planned R36,1 billion relief fund.
It says it’s exploring mechanisms of identifying those that have been affected by the violence and looting that recently rocked KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng as well as the coronavirus pandemic.
Government will then come up with an appropriate scheme to provide assistance.
Meanwhile, Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi says to avoid fraud and corruption when assisting affected employees, it will deal with them directly. He says when they dealt with employers previously, the funds did not reach the intended beneficiaries.
“It will not be free-for-all. The criteria to determine who qualifies is going to be stringent and payments will be based on the resources available. We have the experiences, when we started his process – there was a lot of fraud. There was a lot of inflation of numbers and we are going to be looking for that. Of course we say once beaten, twice shy. We have to be very, very careful,” says Nxesi .
Minister Nxesi outlines lockdown alert level 3 measures in relation to the labour sector:
Director of the Institute for Economic Justice Gilad Isaacs says government’s financial support alone will not prevent the risk of social unrest in the country.
On Wednesday, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni expanded on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s recent announcement of relief measures to support businesses and individuals affected by the recent unrest as well as COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. He said government’s improved revenue collection and shifting around some spending made the allocation possible.
Isaacs says the measures that Mboweni announced lack clarity, “One of those in business grants, second is in funding the presidential employment stimulus, third is in ensuring that support is more easily accessible, fourth is in indicating that there was an increase in security as the president said in securing of the basic income grant. And then lastly, various targeted interventions.”
Treasury’s relief package is not enough: Dr. Gilad Isaacs: