Sassa’s Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant has so far directly benefited more than 10 million unemployed South Africans since its introduction in May 2020. The grant has also indirectly benefitted 36 million people.
However, with its March closing deadline on the horizon, civil organisations have called on the government to increase and extend the grant, citing that the R350 amount is unsustainable and well below the poverty line.
In a bid to ensure that their call is heeded, the groups, including Blacksash, met with President Cyril Ramaphosa, Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu, and Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana last week.
According to Black Sash, the grant should be expanded to include more beneficiaries and increased to the food poverty line currently at R624.
Black Sash Director, Rachel Bukasa further stated that although it is not enough, the grant has had a notable impact on the lives of many unemployed.
She adds that the country’s deteriorating unemployment rate and failure to meet its job creation targets has only exacerbated the problems that the SRD grant seeks to address.
Yes, we acknowledge that jobs are a sustainable long-term solution but in the meantime, people cannot stop while they wait for that infrastructure and those jobs to be put into place.
BusinessTech reported that Social Development Minister, Lindiwe Zulu holds the view that an extension of the SRD grant would be an ideal baseline for an introduction of a Basic Income Grant.
Godongwana will deliver his maiden Budget Speech next month and is expected to detail whether the government will accommodate the grant further than March.