Is The Value Of The R350 Grant Changing?

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Millions of people will be eagerly awaiting the 2024 Budget Speech. It is expected the finance minister will announce developments regarding governments implementation of the SRD Grant. 

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All eyes will be on Cape Town City Hall on Wednesday, 21 February at 14:00. It is at this venue where Finance Minister, Enoch Godongwana will deliver the 2024 Budget Speech.

Many people eagerly await what Minister Godongwana will reveal about the future of the Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant including if the grant will be increased. This comes after promises were made by the President during the 2024 State of The Nation Address (SONA).

President Cyril Ramaphosa said the SRD grant, commonly referred to as the R350 grant, would be extended and improved. Whether these improvements will be divulged during the budget speech is the question on everyone's lips. 

The SRD grant serves as the only financial support available to eight million unemployed adults living in the country. This has been the case since 2020 when the grant was first introduced to assist people during the pandemic and Covid-19 related lockdowns.  

During his last budget speech, Godongwana announced that R36 billion was allocated to the Department of Social Development to fund the extension of the SRD grant until 31 March 2024. In his November 2023 medium-term budget policy statement, the Minister announced that the grant’s implementation would be extended to 2025. 

Earlier this week, DSD Minister Lindiwe Zulu said her department is finalising policy proposals for the introduction of the Basic Income Grant (BIG). 

It is heartening to see that even the opposition is expressing support for this policy initiative. We welcome your support, but equally rebut your cheap political stunt with the contempt it deserves for trying to claim easy victories by positioning yourselves as champions of this initiative that is firmly rooted in the ANC policy documents.

In 2022, Zulu said the government was close to implementing a BIG. Work began developing these BIG policies in 2021 when a panel of experts on Basic Income Support (BIS) were appointed by the DSD to study the impact of a Basic Income Grant.

The team said that if the South African government gradually introduced a basic income grant carefully, it would not result in major trade-offs in relation to existing social support mechanisms, economic sustainability and the fiscal position of the government.

Minister Godongwana will also announce the inflation-linked increases for all other social grants distributed by the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) during the budget speech. 

Why Hasn't The R350 Grant Been Increased?

According to the DSD the lack of an increase is due to "fiscal constraints." Despite the department's request to the National Treasury for an increase, it was not favourably considered due to these fiscal constraints.

Both the Social Development Minister, Lindiwe Zulu, and Brenda Sibeko, the Deputy Director-General at the department, have expressed their desire for an increase in the SRD grant. However, there has been no official confirmation of a grant increase, and it currently remains at the value of R350 per month.

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Millions of vulnerable rely on the SRD grant to purchase food and access basic services. Reconfirmation of their application may be required to ensure they continue receiving the grant. 

Sassa is responsible for disbursing grants to approximately 18 million South Africans every month. One of the grants distributed is Sassa child grants.


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