Citizens Want R350 Grant To Be Permanent & Increased

Organisations and South African citizens are calling for the SASSA R350 grant to be increased and made permanent. The grant is due to come to an end of this month.

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Calls have once again came for SASSA to make the Special Relief of Distress grant permanent and to also have it increased.

Civic group, Black Sash, is calling for the grant to be increased to R585 per month.

A beneficiary said, "The more suitable amount would be R500 or R580, around there. That would be better because we can buy food. The R350, you just eat for two weeks and then it's finished".

SASSA's CEO, Totsie Memela, responded to this:

I am not sure how feasible it is considering the constraints that we have as a government and I know that petitions have been sent to both DSD and to National Treasury but I don't believe that the country, in terms of where we are, if it's feasible but the decision doesn't lie necessarily with us.

Memela went on to explain that they execute action when government gives them the money to administer the grants.

With applications and appeals for the grant closing in a few days, many have called for it to be extended and even made permanent.

Another beneficiary said, "If they can maybe extend this R350 to be a permanent income for the poor people".

Members of Black Sash and other NGOs are planning to march to demand that the grant is extended. 

Nathan Taylor from the #PAYTHEGRANTS group explained:

  • Extending the grant at the current levels would cost R29 billion for 12 months
  • Extending the grant to R585 would cost R48 billion for 12 months
  • To include caregivers in the grant at R585 per month would cost R62 billion

These are huge figures but when we talk about them relatively, when we talk about illicit cash flows, when we talk about government corruption, inefficiencies. When we talk about undeclared income and the possibility of tax on high income individuals. We do not actually have a situation of a crisis of public funding. We have a situation of a crisis of political will.

A campaign was launched last year by the C19 People's Coalition Cash Transfers Working Group for these very demands. 

After a meeting, Daddy Mabe from the group said that they decided to keep the minimum of R585 as a request and for the restoration of caregivers.

"The conditions which gave this position are still here and were there even before Covid and our leadership knows about it ... We are confident because there are no two ways about this. This must happen. If it does not happen, the consequences are obviously going to be dire," he said.

SASSA introduced the Special Relief of Distress grant which sees beneficiaries receive R350 per month to help with the effects of the pandemic. This grant is for individuals who have no source of income and receive no other grants.

 

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