South Africans have been facing a mountain of hardships this year, from load shedding and petrol price spikes to inflation and rising living expenses.
To relieve the burden of load shedding and the soaring cost of living, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana said government would be doing what it can to assist poor households.
Goverment’s load shedding plan
‘It is going to be difficult’
Godongwana admitted that alleviating the effects of load shedding on food prices “is going to be difficult”.
He said: “What we’re analysing is how to minimise the impact on income. In other words, what instruments of income support we need to deliver to support vulnerable communities”.
However, the long-term plan would be to avoid load shedding altogether. Godongwana said government is “dealing with this, we’ve set up a committee”.
Secondly, he said, the long-term goal is to avoid load shedding.
“Three members of that committee are sitting here (in Parliament)… looking at the electricity crisis in the economy.”
Addressing Parliament on Wednesday, Godongwana also said government had already introduced the Social Relief of Distress Grant during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“In terms of income support, in our own situation, we have to focus broadly on what is called a comprehensive social security, of which income support is but one part.”
He said the level of social insurance to make it work “needs to be coordinated properly”. This includes coordinating “active labour market interventions”.
Meanwhile, Cabinet is also addressing the “deficiencies identified in South Africa’s anti-money laundering and terrorist financing activities”.
South Africa now has until February 2023 to avoid greylisting by focusing on the deficiencies identified by the Financial Action Task Force.
Government introduced two bills in August 2022, to address this – the General Laws, and the Protection of Constitutional Democracy against Terrorists and Related Activities Amendment bills.
“If enacted into law before the end of this year, [the bills] will represent a substantial and critical step towards preventing greylisting.”
Load shedding progress reports
Meanwhile, government spokesperson Phumla Williams said Cabinet remains “committed to resolving the issue of energy security” in South Africa.
She said Cabinet is discussing reports from the Department of Public Enterprises and the National Energy Crisis Committee on the challenges facing the power utility.
Cabinet is still deliberating on Minister Pravin Gordhan’s progress reports and “will soon provide comprehensive feedback to the public”, Williams said.