Political parties have reacted positively to the social and economic relief plan announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa to mitigate the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The President announced a R500-billion plan which seeks to stimulate the economy, protect jobs and alleviate hunger.

ANC Deputy Secretary General, Jessie Duarte says the party is glad that the economic and social COVID-19 relief plan takes everyone in the country on board including the unemployed.

With regards to money being sought from the World Bank and IMF – a thorny issue with the tripartite alliance – Duarte says she believes cabinet will be cautious:

“We had deep discussions about what it would mean to go to the World Bank and we understand and believe that they have put out packages that are low interest bearing and where they do not have the usual old conditionalities that we know of in the past and we are comfortable that the cabinet and the leadership in the cabinet will make sure that our sovereignty is not undermined and we trust them and we know that they will do everything possible to negotiate the best possible deals in our national interest.”

DA Leader, John Steenhuizen says the President’s speech ticked the majority of the boxes that the DA had hoped it would.

He says the party is happy that as President Ramaphosa indicated, South Africa will be moving towards easing lockdown restrictions to protect jobs and livelihoods:

“There was a twin threat to life in South Africa one from the spread of the virus and one from the grinding economic depression that pushes people into hunger, into starvation, into malnutrition and into exposure we have got to address the twin threat to life in South Africa and the President has accepted that this evening and we are going to look at a model that looks to saving lives and livelihoods.”

IFP spokesperson, Mkhuleko Hlengwa said the devil is in the plan’s detail.

He says relevant departments must now unpack how they will implement measures and Parliament will need to ramp up its oversight capacity:

“We remain concerned as the IFP about the elements of corruption which have characterised South Africa’s financial management for the longest of time and clearly if this money is not managed well corruption will become a permanent feature, So, the IFP in that respect is calling on Parliament to ensure that it ramps up and beefs up its own oversight capability to make sure that checks and balances are put in place.”

FFPLUS leader, Pieter Groenwald also welcomed the plan as a step in the right direction, saying however his party would have liked to see more support for taxpayers and businesses:

“We would have preferred a reduction in taxes. A reduction in company tax, in personal income tax, in property tax because that would have benefited the tax payers of South Africa directly we hear about soft loans but we don’t know the details and the loan always has to be repaid. We also say that the unlocking of the economy is absolutely necessary but we also agree that it must be a risk analysis approach.”