South Africa: Today’s latest news and headlines, Wednesday 22 April

Economists, citizens and politicians unpack President Ramaphosapost-lockdown recovery plan.

South Africa: Today’s latest news and headlines, Wednesday 22 April

Never miss a beat when it comes to the latest news in South Africa, be sure to check out our overview of all major headlines on Wednesday 22 April.

Following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s late-night address concerning economic relief measures intended to pull South Africa back from a post-lockdown disaster, government now turns its attention to the ‘gradual’ relaxation of lockdown regulations which will come into effect on 30 April.

Today’s latest news in South Africa, Wednesday 22 April

President Ramaphosa’s plan to save the economy

The extraordinary economic measures announced by President Ramaphosa, which aims to provide R500 billion, or 10% of the country’s GDP, for COVID-19 relief measures has been praised by most economists. The unprecedented economic relief package, which comes at a critical time for a country under lockdown, deals with increased social welfare grants and financial aid for struggling businesses. Ramaphosa highlighted key points of the recovery plan:

“Firstly, an extraordinary health budget to respond to coronavirus,

Secondly, the relief of hunger and social distress,

Thirdly, support for companies and workers,

Fourthly, the phased re-opening of the economy.

The impact of the coronavirus requires an extraordinary coronavirus budget – of around R500 billion – to direct resources towards fighting the pandemic.”

COVID-19 cases rise along with testing capacity

On Tuesday evening, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced that the total number of COVID-19 cases in South Africa had risen to 3 465. In the same breath, the minister revealed that government’s testing capacity and competency — through an intensified grassroots approach — had increased dramatically since the lockdown was first implemented.

Mkhize lauded healthcare workers and cooperation from local governments, noting that, to date, 126 937 COVID-19 tests had been conducted; with daily averages hovering above 5 000.

Earlier in the day, the health minister revealed that government testing had increased from just 1 000 tests conducted in the week prior to lockdown to more than 19 000 last week. Out of all tests conducted in South Africa, 67% have been completed by private facilities.

Soldier’s ‘expired’ MRE packs gives SANDF food for thought

Charges of fraud have been brought against suppliers commissioned to provide food packs to the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). This comes after Military Police received numerous complaints of expired Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MRE) containers.

Video footage, circulated widely online, showed a soldier peeling off aftermarket labels from the packs to reveal the original expiry dates.

SANDF Chief, General Solly Shoke, confirmed that investigations into the matter were well underway and that if the allegations were true, the act of supplying expired consumables to the military constituted “sabotage”.

Wholesalers requested to provide list of agricultural products

The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development requests all interested wholesalers, distributors or agribusiness outlets to provide a list of specific agricultural production inputs they have in stock.

This, according to the department, will assist in the emergency procurement of these inputs to enable smallholder and communal farmers to complete the current production cycle.

The department intends to procure by means of issuing purchase vouchers to approved farmers. Farmers will purchase from the nearest wholesaler, distributor or agribusiness outlet.

“The department requires a typical “cash and carry’’ set up, not a middleman. Interested suppliers should, therefore, provide a physical address of their business from where farmers can cash and carry products using vouchers,” the department said in the statement.

The support will be capped at R50 000 per approved farmer.

Commodities to be supported and prioritised are as follows:

  • Poultry: Day old chicks; point of lay chickens; feed; medication; and sawdust.
  • Vegetables: Seedlings; fertiliser; pesticides; herbicides; and soil correction.
  • Fruit: Fertiliser; pesticides; and herbicides.
  • Other livestock: Feed and medication.
  • Winter field crops: Soil correction, fertiliser, seeds, herbicides and pesticides.

(Source: SAnews)

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Source : The South African More   

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Refunds, deductions and deferrals – SA announces major tax breaks

It's a silver lining for businesses and individuals: Cyril Ramaphosa has got a plan to ease the tax burden on South Africans during this health crisis.

Refunds, deductions and deferrals – SA announces major tax breaks

It’s not often the president rocks up on television to show-off a R500 billion war-chest. Tuesday night saw Cyril Ramaphosa take to the airwaves to explain how South Africa was going to fund its economic recovery efforts – as well as making several multi-billion rand interventions for businesses, he also unveiled a number of tax interventions.

How much South Africa will spend on economic relief

With incomes and revenue all but evaporated by the global health crisis and subsequent lockdown, the government have stepped in to cushion the blow. Around 10% of South Africa’s GDP will go towards alleviating the gloom, as our already-clapped economy enters into its darkest hour.

Ramaphosa, always the great orator, sent a rousing message to South Africans about “creating a new economy” based on fairness and justice. Certainly, these tax interventions show he’s ready to walk the walk.

Major tax breaks coming to South Africa

  • There will be a four-month tax holiday for companies’ skills development levy contributions.
  • All VAT refunds will be fast-tracked.
  • A three-month delay for filing and first payment of carbon tax has been implemented.
  • The proportion of PAYE payments that can be deferred will be increased to 35%.
  • The previous turnover threshold for tax deferrals is being increased to R100 million a year.
  • Businesses with a turnover of more than R100 million a year can apply directly to SARS on a case-by-case basis for deferrals of their tax payments.
  • Taxpayers who donate to the Solidarity Fund will be able to claim up to an additional 10% as a deduction from their taxable income.
  • These tax measures should provide at least R70 billion in cash flow relief or direct payments to businesses and individuals.

Tax interventions – fines for late payments may also be suspended

Ramaphosa also told the nation that businesses won’t face fines for late payments, providing they can prove that the global health crisis has impacted their operations:

“We’re now embarking on the second phase of our economic response to stabilise the economy… No penalties for late payments will be applicable if businesses can show they have been negatively impacted in this time. The finance minister will provide further details on the above and other tax-related announcements.”

Source : The South African More   

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