Despite recess, MPs processing special appropriations bill for COVID, July riots

The bill proposes urgent additional funding of R32.8 billion to deal with the COVID pandemic and the aftermath of the July riots in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

FILE: A National Assembly hybrid plenary sitting in line with COVID-19 regulations on 27 August 2020. Picture: @ParliamentofRSA/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - While Parliament is officially in recess, MPs continue to process the Draft Second Special Appropriations Bill.

The bill proposes urgent additional funding of R32.8 billion to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and the aftermath of the July riots in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

This includes R26.7 billion for the Department of Social Development to cover the cost of the extension of the R350 a month social relief of distress grant and help for the South African Social Security Agency to improve its systems.

Parliament’s select committee on appropriations has been briefed by National Treasury, the financial and fiscal commission and the parliamentary budget office on the bill, which has to be approved before the money can be disbursed.

Allocations covered by the R32.8 billion include R3.9 billion for Treasury to pass on to state-owned special risks insurer, Sasria, so that it can pay out claims that are estimated will come in at between R20 billion and R25 billion. Sasria has already told Parliament that the R3.9 billion will not be enough.

The bill also provides for Defence to get R700 million and the police R250 million to cover the costs of deployment of members.

An amount of R1.3 billion for the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition has already been authorised and is intended to help businesses hit by the riots, especially those that were uninsured, get back on their feet.

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