Calls For R350 Grant To Be Extended And Increased

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The end of last month signaled the termination of SASSA's social relief of distress grant which saw beneficiaries receiving R350 per month. Calls for the grant to be both extended and increased have now arrived.

Now that SASSA's R350 grant has officially come to an end, organisations are now calling for it to be extended as well as increased to R585.

31 January marked the end of the Social Relief of Distress Grant.

Kelebogile Khunou from the Socio Economic Rights Institute, said:

People will need the grant to survive the next couple of months in South Africa.

The calls for the grant to be increased comes from Stats SA producing data which said that for someone living in South Africa to be able to afford the food needed daily to survive, they need R585 per month.

"Where the money will come from is actually not the question. What we need to be thinking about is that about 55% of South Africans live in poverty. It's not a question of whether we can do it, it's a question of how," said Khunou.

Other civil societies have made the same call.

The Socio Economic Rights Institute has conducted research in informal settlements and other areas about incomes and from this, Khunou says:

It is a misconception to say that a lot of South Africans are lazy and that actually what they are preferring is a hand out. I think that South Africans are willing to put in the effort. The problem is that structurally, we are in a situation of high unemployment rates.

The institute works with precarious and informal workers to realise their economic rights and help them with it. 30% of the labour force is made up of informal workers.

"The effects of the lockdown was devastating but those who were working in the informal sector were particularly hard hit and unlike other sectors of workers, this group of workers because of their informality were excluded from benefitting from government income support," explained Khunou.

The institute therefore wants government to extend this support to informal workers as well as they do not have any other forms of income during this time.

We have to look at our economy and make sure it benefits the majority of South Africans.

The Social Relief of Distress grant was set up to support unemployed South Africans during the national lockdown.

There has been no sign of the grant being extended as government has said that they cannot afford a further extension. They are however looking to introducing a Basic Income Grant which will be similar to the SRD grant. 

The R350 grant has been paid to unemployed citizens as part of a R500 billion social and economic support package which was announced by the president in April when the national lockdown commenced as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 


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