Millions expected to apply for govt relief grant

Millions expected to apply for govt relief grant

JOHANNESBURG – The labour department estimates some 4.6 million people could apply for the R350 social relief grant.

This is the number of job seekers it has registered on its database.

The social development department will be responsible for paying out the money.

The grant is to help the unemployed who don’t get any other form of grant assistance.

Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi says beyond the inevitable retrenchments and business closures prompted by the COVID-19 lockdown, government still needs to deal with the country’s high unemployment.

“One of the strategies would be to ramp and formalise public employment, and these must be labour-intensive,” Nxesi said.

“The country also needs to ramp up on its own infrastructure, the hard and the soft infrastructure, which is very critical.”

Nxesi told Parliament that R9-billion has been paid out to companies to help them cover employees’ salaries during the lockdown.

He said the pandemic has highlighted the urgency to plan for the future of the workplace.

But, he says, his department should not become overwhelmed by the crisis.

“In the weeks and months ahead we are going to need to grapple with these new challenges. The whole new set of economic circumstances, reduction in productivity activity and increased unemployment,” the minister said.


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