Black First Land First (BLF) said on Thursday that they were “demanding” that the poor be given a minimum of 20%, or up to a maximum of 50%, of the Covid-19 relief fund.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced in April that R500 billion was set aside in a social and economic relief package for the country’s economy during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The government is giving the unemployed R350 each over six months through the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa).
BLF’s deputy president Zanele Lwana said: “This comes to R2,100 in total. It’s an insult. The government has decided to shamelessly give 2.1% of the R500 billion Covid-19 support package to the unemployed,” she argued.
Lwana said there was no clarity on what basis the government had decided to give the unemployed just R350 per month for six months.
“It makes no sense. BLF believes that a minimum of 5 million of the 10 million unemployed people in South Africa would qualify for the special Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant of R350.
“This means that when 20% of R500 billion is divided among 5 million unemployed people each person will get a total of R20,000 for six months. This amounts to 5 million unemployed people each getting R3,300 per month for six months,” she said.
She said if 50% of R500 billion was divided among 5 million unemployed people, each person would get a total of R50,000 for six months.
“This translates to 5 million unemployed people each getting R8,300 per month for six months,” she said.
Lwana said there was no reason “whatsoever” why the government was not giving the poor “real relief”.
The BLF’s statement, however, gave no indication of the fact that the R500 billion relief package comprised numerous approaches, including loans, tax relief and other measures that means the money does not entirely comprise disbursements from Treasury.
“The money is there. Members of parliament earn approximately R1,137,933 a year. That’s over R1 million per annum! They however choose to give the poor a total of R2,100 for a period of six months,” she said.
“They don’t respect their voters,” she added.
Lwana said the BLF wanted Ramaphosa to urgently allocate 20% to 50% of the R500 billion to the poor.
“It can be done. We ask the president and Julius Malema if they can live on R350 a month,” she asked.
(Compiled by Molefe Seeletsa)
CONTINUE READING: Opposition parties slate Ramaphosa’s lack of detail on Covid-19 response.