After months of intense pressure from civil society, on July 24 President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the government was bringing back the R350 SRD grant until March of 2022, and extending it to include unemployed child caregivers.
While undoubtedly good news to the nation’s poor, the total falls well short of what has been asked for by several advocacy groups who are asking that government move toward a Basic Income Grant of R1,268. The Black Sash has long advocated that the SRD Grant be raised to at least R585 per month, the current figure given for the Food Poverty Line.
Ecocide refers to wanton, deliberate and large-scale environmental destruction. The oft-cited example is that of the American Army spraying some 31 000km² of crops and forest cover with a toxic defoliant dubbed Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. The push to make it an international crime started some 25 years ago but is gaining traction in international legal and environmental circles.
Police are going door-to-door in townships to reclaim goods believed to be looted during the unrest in Gauteng. Civil society groups have criticised the raids, especially the confiscation of food items from poorer households. Apart from seemingly targeting the poor, activists say that ‘Operation Show Your Receipt’ violates the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA).
“What we are seeing is the criminalisation of poverty and the profiling of vulnerable people. The police are going into informal settlements, entering people’s homes without search warrants and confiscating goods without checking whether they were looted,” said Lazola Kati from the Right2Know Campaign.
Damage estimates from the recent unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng show widespread damage to schools, businesses and infrastructure. basic education minister Angie Motshekgas aid that schools suffered R300m in damage in the violent looting spree. Tens of thousands of businesses have been affected and as many as 150,000 jobs may be at risk. More than just, “cleaning up,” the damage is to such an extent that some schools and business may not be able to reopen at all. There are also concerns that the riots themselves constituted super spreader events and may impact on the numbers of Covid-19 cases. Overall estimates of the total cost have been put about R50 billion and the GDP loss at about R40 billion.
It’s not your imagination, trips to the grocery store are noticeably more expensive of late. While consumer inflation eased somewhat in June to 4,9% food and fuel prices are the principle drivers of the current round of inflation.