Nica Richards
Premium Journalist
1 minute read
11 Feb 2021
8:09 pm

Sona 2021: More than R57bn paid out to 4.5m workers during pandemic

Nica Richards

In the third quarter of 2020, South Africa’s economy was 6% smaller than it was in the last quarter of 2019. 

A sign on a factory gate in Anderbolt, Boksburg. 12 November 2020. Picture: Neil McCartney

The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 13.5% in the third quarter of 2020.

However, unemployment already rife in South Africa before the pandemic, has been exacerbated by the virus. 

In the third quarter of 2020, South Africa’s economy was 6% smaller than it was in the last quarter of 2019. 

ALSO READ: Sona 2021: ‘A time for change’ Ramaphosa declares as millions of vaccine doses secured

Ramaphosa said the sharp decline in economic growth and an increase in unemployment has seen poverty rising and inequality deepening. 

In the third quarter of 2020, 1.7 million fewer people were employed than in the first quarter. Unemployment is currently at a “staggering” 30.8%. 

Click here to visit The Citizen’s home page for more coverage of Sona 2021

However, Ramaphosa said a recovery in employment can be expected. 

In the meantime, relief measures worth R500 billion, or 10% of the country’s GDP, provided economic support to 18 million people in struggling households.

READ MORE: Unemployment up to 43% in third quarter of 2020

More than five million people were able to remain above the poverty line due to this, Ramaphosa reported. 

And in the Unemployment Insurance Fund’s (UIF) Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme (Ters) has paid out more than R57 billion in wage support to at least 4.5 million workers. 

Small and medium-sized businesses has received more than R1.3 billion, and saw over R70 billion in tax relief. 

In addition, Ramaphosa said R18.9 billion in loans have been approved for 13,000 businesses through government’s loan guarantee scheme. 

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