Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities David Maynier has welcomed the relaxation of Level 3 restrictions but he said some businesses are still severely distressed and are in need of relief such as an extension of the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) Ters benefit.
On Monday evening 1 February 2021, President Cyril Ramphosa took to the podium for yet another family meeting. There, he announced the adjusted Level 3 lockdown with the easing of some restrictions. For instance, the curfew was extended and the sale of alcohol was reinstated. The closure of beaches was also set aside.
Maynier said the relaxations are exactly what they have been calling for and is a welcome reprieve for businesses in the Western Cape, however, some businesses who are severely distressed still need relief.
“The fact is that there are many businesses that are severely distressed and many jobs that remain at risk as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the markets that these businesses are dependent on, especially as the intensity of the second wave both at home and abroad has resulted in stricter international travel restrictions and route cancellations by airlines,” said Maynier.
“And so, it is critical that national government consider providing a support package for business and, as I have requested of the Minister of Employment and Labour, Thulas Nxesi, extend the UIF COVID-19 TERS scheme for the duration of the Alert Level 3 Restrictions to assist businesses and employees who continue to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.
When The South African reached out to UIF spokesperson Makhosonke Buthelezi for comment regarding an extension of the Ters benefit, he said;
“UIF is against the extension due to financial constraints but the matter is still under discussion”.
A few weeks ago, Ramaphosa also told journalists that government had no more money for businesses and Maynier also acknowledged it saying;
“We know that national government is running out of fiscal firepower, but this financial relief could be targeted to focus on the most seriously affected businesses, in the most seriously affected sectors like tourism and hospitality, so that we can save businesses and save jobs in the Western Cape.”