South Africa plans $2.4 bln relief measures over COVID-19 unrest

PUBLISHED: Wed, 28 Jul 2021 14:11:14 GMT
Alexander Winning and Wendell Roelf
Minister Tito Mboweni delivers 2021 Budget Speech in Parliament. [Photo: GCIS]
Photo: via Flickr.

JOHANNESBURG, July 28 (Reuters) – South Africa plans relief measures worth about 36 billion rand ($2.4 billion) to support businesses and individuals affected by COVID-19 restrictions and recent unrest, the finance ministry said on Wednesday.

The package will be funded by better government revenue collection and by shifting around some spending, senior officials told a news conference, addressing measures announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday.

“We are funding this package within available resources currently. We are not going to be going for borrowing at all,” National Treasury Director-General Dondo Mogajane said. “All in all, ladies and gentleman, there is about 36 billion rand worth of support that we are putting on the table.”

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said acts of looting and arson following the jailing of former President Jacob Zuma had probably caused around 50 billion rand of damage. He said the government would allocate more money to the police and military.

Jacob Zuma turned himself in to police on July 7 to begin 15 months in jail for contempt of court after defying an instruction to give evidence at an inquiry into corruption during his nine years in power until 2018. Zuma denies there was widespread corruption under his leadership.

($1 = 14.7817 rand)

(Reporting by Alexander Winning and Wendell Roelf; writing by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo, Editing by Gareth Jones and Timothy Heritage)

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