Black Sash’s Open Letter Calls For Extension Of COVID-19 SRD Grant

Black Sash and a few other organisations have sent an open letter requesting for the COVID-19 SRD Grant to be extended as many South Africans desperately need this grant as they are still living with the impacts of this pandemic.

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On Thursday 22 April, Black Sash, the #PayTheGrants campaign, and C19PC sent an open letter to the Social Development Department, South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), President Cyril Ramaphosa and the Finance Minister.

The Department of Social Development has acknowledged the letter and have indicated that discussions are taking place regarding the extension of these grants.

However, no meaningful response has been received from SASSA, the Minister of Finance, or the President.

The letter stated that it was unreasonable of the government to end the Special COVID-19 SRD Grant since the pandemic continues and many are still reliant on it.

It revealed that the government has agreed to extend the COVID-19 loan guarantee scheme to businesses, which is just as important as providing households with an income to help them through this pandemic.

The letter called for the government to adhere to their constitutional obligation to decrease inequality and poverty within the country, as not doing so will negatively affect the most vulnerable.

Within the letter, the organisation stated that instead of ending the grant the government could:

  • Extend the COVID-19 SRD grant until permanent social assistance is provided to those between the ages of 18 and 59.
  • Increase the amount of the COVID-19 SRD grant to at least the Food Poverty Line at R585.
  • Eligibility of beneficiaries of the Child Support Grant to receive the COVID-19 SRD grant.
  • Expand the eligibility criteria and address the administrative inefficiencies such as the appeals process and using outdated verification databases.
  • Develop a more effective communication strategy with recipients and applicants.
  • Implement a Basic Income Grant for those between the ages of 18 and 59 who do not receive an income. While there are many proposals for the Basic Income Grant, a permanent Basic Income Support should gradually increase to match the Upper-Bound Poverty Line at R1 268.

The organisation also called for an urgent meeting with the President, Minister Lindiwe Zulu, Tito Mboweni, CEO of SASSA.

They would like to express their concerns during the meeting and ensure the indefinite extension of the COVID-19 SRD Grant until a legislative and policy framework is set up.

The Open Letter was endorsed by 86 civil society organisation and 180 organisations endorsed the #PayTheGrants campaign.

The letter stated that “If we are still ignored, we will be compelled to consider other options”.

Click here to read the full statement.

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