The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) notes the extensive details of the Disaster Relief Package presented by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni and his team. We are glad that this relief package that comprises the reinstatement of the R350 Covid-19 Grant, extension of the UIF TERS, food parcels, tax holidays for affected businesses, SASRIA and insurance relief, and financial assistance for the uninsured speaks to the proposals tabled by COSATU at Nedlac last week.
The intentions of this social and economic intervention are in line with what we want to see done but we will judge its effectiveness on its implementation and outcomes.
This needs to be expedited because time is of the essence and many people are struggling to put food on the table. We expect these various relief measures to be rolled out from 1st of August 2021.
Workers have lost wages and jobs, businesses have lost merchandise and property, and communities have lost shops and infrastructure; they cannot afford any indecisiveness or setbacks.
The Federation also welcomes the public pledge and assurance by the Minister of Finance that National Treasury will urgently draft the necessary legislation enabling distressed workers to access a limited portion of their pensions during this difficult time.
This was a critical part of COSATU’s Disaster Relief Package proposals that the federation first raised with government and Parliament in May 2020.
The Minister publicly approved of it in last year’s Medium Term Budget Policy Statement. We hope government will table this Bill in Parliament as soon as possible so that it can be processed and finalized immediately.
It is critical that workers be allowed access to their retirement savings because companies and the private sector in general has been offered various incentives and tax breaks to bail it out, while workers continue to struggle.
Issued by COSATU.
Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)
Tel: 011 339 4911
Cell: 060 975 6794