Many, including Sassa grant beneficiaries, organisations and even members of parliament, have called for the Special Relief of Distress (SRD) grant to be increased. Despite this, nothing has been done in the two years the SRD grant has been running.
During a National Assembly meeting, a member of Parliament asked what the reason behind this is. This is definitely not the first time this question has been posed to government.
The Department of Social Development responded with saying that the lack of an increase is due to "fiscal constraints".
They went further and said that they too are concerned that, in fewer words, the grant is not enough. In explaining, they said:
The Department is also concerned that since its implementation in 2020, the value has remained unchanged and is not keeping pace with inflation which directly translate to the value of the grant decreasing every year as the inflation increases.
R350 Grant Is Not Enough
According to the Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy, food and non-alcoholic beverage inflation is sitting at the highest point since May 2008 and more than double the upper inflation target limit.
It is for this reason that lobby groups are calling for the value of the grant to be raised to a minimum of R413 to account for inflation since 2020, including a plan to increase it progressively until it reaches the current Federal Poverty Level.
Many have also taken the Food Poverty Line when calling for a R350 grant increase. The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) have asked for the grant to increase from R350 to R624, which is the food poverty line per person per month.
The Department is said to have approached the National Treasury requesting that the grant be increased but that "the request was not favourably considered due to fiscal constraints".