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South African Treasury Rejects Covid-19 Welfare Grant Extension

  • Extending stipend by just one year would cost 50 billion rand
  • Six state companies seeking $730 million in additional funding

South Africa’s National Treasury warned the country can’t afford to extend welfare grants to the poor, citing an over-stretched budget and spending pressures including additional funding requests from state-owned firms totaling 12.8 billion rand ($730 million).

A temporary 350 rand monthly stipend was introduced in 2020 to help shield the poor from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, and the Department of Social Development and civil rights groups have been pushing for the payments to be made permanent. The Treasury has repeatedly questioned where the money would come from. Africa’s most-industrialized economy already spends the equivalent of almost 4% of its gross domestic product on welfare.