Godongwana: Impact of July riots could persist beyond 2021

Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana said that it was also too early to fully quantify the impact of the damage on the country’s economy by the looting in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

FILE: People carry goods as they loot and vandalise the Lotsoho Mall in Katlehong township, East of Johannesburg, on 12 July 2021. Several shops are damaged and cars burnt in Johannesburg, following a night of violence. Police are on the scene trying to control further protests. It is unclear if this is linked to sporadic protests following the incarceration of former president Jacob Zuma. Picture: Phill Magakoe / AFP

CAPE TOWN - Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana said that the economic impact of the recent unrest would not be quickly resolved and would persist beyond 2021.

He said that it was also too early to fully quantify the impact of the damage on the country’s economy by the looting in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

Godongwana made his first appearance before the National Assembly as Finance Minister on Wednesday as part of the economic cluster.

Minister Godongwana said that the recent unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng had also had a crippling impact on the SADC regional economy.

He said that while early estimates of the economic impact was about R50 billion, the impact would be felt for some time.

"National Treasury suggests that unrest could have little under 1% point from the GDP growth in 2021. In addition, these impacts could be lasting as costs of the unrest on employment and sentiment could persist beyond 2021."

Godongwana said that Treasury was also working with the Presidency and other partners to reduce the poverty gap as well as a replacement for the R350 grant.

"This includes considering what might replace the R350 social relief of distress grant, however, all options also need to be considered with respect to their affordability."

He said that Treasury had set aside over R3 billion to help looted and vandalised small and medium businesses.

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