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After two weeks of looting and violence in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, President Cyril Ramaphosa had no option but to reintroduce the social relief of distress (SRD) grant. But he missed an opportunity to provide a stronger boost to the country’s battered economy by immediately introducing a basic income grant (Big).

After the power blackouts, over-the-top lockdowns and the worst social unrest since 1994, accounting firm PwC has reduced its GDP forecast for 2021 to 2.3% from 3.7%. In response to feminist activists who had condemned the discriminatory exclusion of women who have children from the SRD, the president said caregivers would now qualify...

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