South Africa: Today’s latest news and headlines, Wednesday 29 April
Government is in a race against time to finalise lockdown level 4 regulations.
Never miss a beat when it comes to the latest news in South Africa – check out all major headlines on Wednesday 29 April.
As South Africans prepare to enter level 4 of lockdown, economic support schemes for embattled business owners and hungry citizens encounter administrative hiccups. Meanwhile, law enforcement agencies tighten surveillance in volatile areas which have seen unrest as a result of the lockdown’s fierce financial pressures.
Today’s latest news in South Africa, Wednesday 29 April
Lockdown funding schemes ‘overwhelmed’
The demand for financial assistance during lockdown, from businesses and citizens who have lost their jobs as a result of the economic downturn, has overwhelmed the state’s capacity to deliver. While President Cyril Ramaphosa recently announced a R500 billion Economic Relief Package, intended to mitigate the country’s financial ruin, certain schemes, particularly those serving informal, small, medium and micro enterprises (SMME), are experiencing teething problems.
The tourism industry, which has been hardest hit by the global pandemic, has been thrown into further disarray by a series of legal challenges emanating from the support fund’s BEE position.
In light of recent job cuts, government’s Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) has been kept especially busy, paying out more than R3.3 billion. Unfortunately, the magnitude of the administrative task has left over 10 000 workers in the lurch.
The department revealed that UIF employees were working around the clock to deal with “extraordinary volumes of requests for assistance”.
Government rushing to finalise level 4 regulations
During a National Command Council (NCC) briefing on Tuesday, ministers revealed that government was busy finalising regulations to accompany level 4 lockdown.
Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane admitted that the NCC was in a race against time, noting that the public submissions received on Monday were still being assessed and that definitive answers in line with amendments to the Disaster Management Act would be revealed by the council ‘soon’.
Each minister is expected to deliver directives pertaining to their respective departments before 1 May.
Social grant payment dates confirmed
The elderly and persons with disabilities, who receive their monthly social grants from the South African Post Office (SAPO), will from May receive their monies from the fourth day of the month.
All other grants will be paid from the sixth of every month, SAPO said in a statement on Tuesday.
“The Post Office also advises beneficiaries not to make a balance enquiry on the first day of the month, as their grant will only become available on the dates mentioned above and the balance enquiry may incur unnecessary bank charges,” said SAPO.
Beneficiaries are allowed one free balance enquiry during each pay cycle. (Source: SAnews)
Western Cape Provincial Parliament talks police brutality
The Western Cape Provincial Parliament’s Ad Hoc Committee on COVID-19 will today assemble, digitally, to discuss issues concerning policing, security and police brutality. The meeting will include input from the provincial Police Commissioner, provincial Minister for Community Safety, the Department of Community Safety, the provincial head of the Independent Police Investigating Directorate and the Western Cape Police Ombudsman.
Recently, South Africa had the dubious dishonour of ranking high on the United Nations’ list of countries with ‘toxic lockdown structures’. Georgette Gagnon, director of field operations for the UN, said:
“In South Africa, the UN has received reports of police using rubber bullets, tear gas, water bombs and whips, to enforce social distancing, especially in poor neighbourhoods.”
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