Ramaphosa: Govt, society need to continue discussions on basic income grant

Ramaphosa is virtually delivering the party’s January 8 Statement.

ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers January 8 statement at the Tafel-Lager Park Stadium in Kimberley, on Saturday 11 January 2020. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - African National Congress president Cyril Ramaphosa said this year, the government and broader society needed to continue discussions on the desirability and viability of the basic income grant.

This is meant to provide a cushion or safety net for poor people in the country.

Ramaphosa was virtually delivering the party’s January 8 Statement on Friday evening.

The issue has long been on the agenda at the National Economic Development and Labour Council, with no agreement in sight, begging the question what will be different this year?

However, the president said this would also be explored in an effort to intensify all measures to improve the lives of the poor.

The social relief measures introduced by government in April last year – including the temporary top-up of social grants and the special COVID-19 grant for unemployed people – proved vital in supporting the poor at their time of greatest vulnerability.

AGGRESSIVELY IMPLEMENTING ECONOMIC RECOVERY PLAN

Ramaphosa said the party was now focusing on aggressively implementing the COVID-19 economic reconstruction and recovery plan.

Since the country was hit by the novel coronavirus, around two million jobs have been lost and many more people have fallen below the poverty line.

Last year, Ramaphosa announced his economic reconstruction and recovery plan and said the economic recovery plan’s job creation process was already under way with a number of projects ready to start.

READ MORE: Ramaphosa's economic recovery plan has strong focus on jobs

During his virtual address on Friday, Ramaphosa said the ANC key plan was to mobilise investment, create new jobs and support existing ones, and accelerating industrialisation.

“We are undertaking large-scale public investment in key sectors such as energy, water and sanitation, roads and bridges, human settlements, health and education, digital infrastructure and public transport. In these and other infrastructure programmes, we are also pursuing public-private partnerships. We are promoting investment in sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing and mining and tourism. We are providing support to key sectors such as poultry, sugar and automotive, as well as small-scale manufacturers and township and rural entrepreneurs. Our emphasis is on localisation so that South African businesses benefit from all areas of economic activity.”

Ramaphosa said the ANC had also begun the process of rolling out public employment programmes that would offer greater opportunities to women, youth, persons with disabilities and other marginalised groups.

He also said the ANC, government and broader society would need to continue discussions on the desirability and viability of a basic income grant to provide a social safety net to the poor.

WATCH LIVE: ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa gives January 8 Statement

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