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Ramaphosa’s government faces social relief dilemmas

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Significance

The pandemic has sharpened questions about the role of South Africa's extensive social grants system in wider economic policy. In particular, emergency provisions have focused attention on those ordinarily excluded from the welfare state, notably young, healthy jobseekers.

Impacts

  • The government will struggle to justify continued spending on ailing parastatals over pro-poor programmes.
  • Rising deprivation throws public sector workers’ wage demands and recent strike action into sharp relief.
  • Increased taxation to fund welfare expansion, as advocated by some within the ANC and its Alliance partners, could affect growth prospects.
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