On Thursday, 4 June eMkhondo was buzzing with activity as hundreds of people queued outside of the establishments who serve as a collection point for government grants.
Approximately 18-million people in South Africa rely on social grants and about 20% of households depend on grants as their main source of income. Despite grants, almost 28% of South Africans live below the food poverty line and around 40% of citizens are currently unemployed.
South African president Cyril Ramaphosa recently announced a significant package of social and economic measures to address the dire economic straits that South Africa currently finds itself in. The package included a R50-billion increase to the value of existing social grants, a new grant and delivery of food parcels to poor households and this will be for six months.
The child social grant is currently being paid to the caregivers of approximately 12.5 million children. From June to October, caregivers will receive R440-00 per child and they will be given an extra R500-00 per month.
All other grants will be increased by R250-00 per month for six months. Those who are not covered by other grants or the UIF (Unemployment Insurance Fund) will receive a special Covid-19 Social relieve of Distress grant of R350-00 per month.
Unfortunately, research has shown that approximately 45% of workers do not qualify for UIF.
We urge the Mkhondo SAPS, Traffic Department, members of the SANDF and health officials who are currently deployed in town to ensure that the social distancing regulations are adhere to by all, as most people who are waiting in line for grants seem to be ignoring the regulation.
At some stores in town, employees walk around with a stick which they use to ensure that people who are waiting in queues were kept apart from each other and that they did not stand in groups.
We would appreciate the same commitment to the regulations from our officials.