Minister Wants R350 Grant To Be Extended For Another Two Years

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Millions of vulnerable people living in South Africa are currently benefitting from the Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant. As a result, calls for an extension of the grant have increased.

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The Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant, more commonly known as the ‘R350 grant’, was initially introduced during the Covid-19 pandemic and was meant to only last for a period of six months, but it has since been extended a few times while maintaining its value of R350.

Last year, Finance Minister, Enoch Godongwana confirmed that the R350 grant will be extended to the end of March 2024. Godongwana said the decision was made while government is still considering options for a more permanent solution and has not yet made a decision regarding how the replacement will be paid. 

However, beneficiaries would be happy to know that there is a possibility that the grant may receive a further extension as the Department of Social Development (DSD) have revealed that they are lobbying cabinet to try and extend the R350 grant for another two years.

According to Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu, cash programmes such as the SRD grant have their benefits including reducing dire poverty, increasing school enrolment, and improving nutrition.

Minister Zulu explained:

Cash transfers are effective in addressing negative coping strategies such as poor diets or debts. The distribution of cash allowances boosts the local economy, especially on market days. Cash can link with existing social protection systems or build the blocks for future longer-term assistance from the outset.

Another R350 Grant Extension On The Cards

Deputy Director-General at the DSD Brenda Sibeko says they want the grant to be extended as circumstances that led to its introduction had not changed and the need has further grown.

In order to qualify for this grant, all candidates must be unemployed, be between the ages of 18 and 59 years old and earn less than R624 per month.

There’s still poverty, there’s still hunger and unemployment in the country. The people who are accessing that grant are showing us every month when we look at their income levels through their bank accounts that they have less than R624 in their account.

Sibeko stressed, “We think it’s very important for us to make sure that they at least have enough money to buy food. Until that happens, we have to continue with the grant.”

In addition to having the grant extended, the department has also called for or an increase of the amount as it’s value has not been increased since its inception.

“The value has been eroded by inflation over that period. So, we think it must be increased to keep up with inflation and for it to be enough to at least buy a basket of food for the month,” adds Sibeko.

Meanwhile, many have welcomed the DSD’s intentions to lobby for the extension of the R350 grant.

Black Sash national advocacy manager Hoodah Abrahams-Fayker noted they looked forward to the transition of the temporary social relief of distress grant, to permanent social assistance for the unemployed.

She noted, “The extension of the grant would be a positive step, however the government should commit to provide permanent social assistance for the unemployed.

GOOD secretary-general Brett Herron said the extension would bring some comfort to those whose survival is assisted by this grant.

Progress of Basic Income Grant

Minister Zulu says her department has completed and consulted on the draft policy on Basic Income Support, as a pathway to address the long-term income needs of vulnerable working age individuals.

Zulu noted that they are now refining the draft based on the constructive input received from various stakeholders. “With a view to taking the draft policy through the Cabinet process, in the hope that it will get the necessary support and fiscal commitment to enable its approval for implementation,” said Zulu.

She said given the fact that such a policy, if approved, would require legislative amendments the department was seeking to petition Cabinet to extend the R350 grant provision for a further two years.

Suggested Article:

sassa card used for sassa grants

It can be extremely concerning if you require a social grant from the South Africa Social Security Agency (Sassa) but the agency rejects your application for financial support. There is a way to appeal Sassa’s decision to reject your grant application. 

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