Over the past few years government has been working on reframing the temporary R350 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant into a new Basic Income Grant.
The implementation of the new grant could address the country’s extremely high rates of poverty and ensure that all people have an adequate standard of living.
The Department of Social Development (DSD) says that one of their main priorities for the 2023/24 financial year is the country’s poverty alleviation strategy, which includes the policy on the basic income support.
This was announced by Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu on Tuesday as she tabled her department’s budget vote.
Working together with other government departments, we will produce South Africa’s poverty alleviation strategy which includes the policy on the basic income support for 18–59-year-old people who are not working.
The grants main purpose will be to provide income support for individuals between the ages of 18 and 59 who are financially struggling, unemployed and don't have any social assistance.
Zulu’s announcement was welcomed by many stakeholders including, Human rights advocacy group, the Black Sash Trust who have been at the forefront advocating for the grant’s implementation.
Black Sash Trust spokesperson Akona Gwiliza expressed, “It was an important moment as Minister Zulu was delivering her Budget vote speech which determines the current administration and the future of social grants in South Africa.”
Furthermore, Minster Zulu also mentioned several other issues that the department would be prioritising during the current financial year.
Working together in pursuit of realising the aspirations of the people of South Africa, during the 2023/24 financial year we will give priority to building a capable, responsive, ethical and fit for purpose Social Development portfolio.
Also, on the list of priorities is optimising the performance of Non-Profit Organisations while implementing a risk-based supervision framework that will prevent the abuse of NPOs in money laundering, terrorism financing and proliferation financing.
Zulu said the department will also strengthen the provision of care and support services for the survivors of gender-based violence and femicide through the provision and operationalisation of shelters, economic participation, and psychosocial support services.
DSD 2023/24 Budget
The department has been allocated a total budget of R263 billion for the 2023/24 financial year.
Included in this, is an amount of R253 billion which consists of direct cash transfer payments that the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) expects to pay to a projected 27 million eligible grant beneficiaries by March 2024.
Zulu says that Sassa’s allocation accounts to an estimated 96.4% of the department’s total budget over the MTEF period which goes directly to the hands of the beneficiaries.
The agency’s allocation also includes an additional R35.7 billion that will be directed towards the implementation and administration of the SRD grant until March next year.
The department’s total budget allocation also includes an amount of R7.8 billion which will pay for the administration of Sassa grants and R5.8 billion for Sassa grant increases.