In delivering his sixth State of the Nation Address, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that the Social Relief of Distress (SRD) will be extended for 12 months.
Ramaphosa said, “mindful of the proven benefits of the grant, we will extend the R350 SRD grant for one further year to the end of March 2023”.
The grant was scheduled to come to an end in March 2022. This would have left more than 10 million people without crucial relief.
Social support grants are a crucial tool to assist the most vulnerable members of our society. Around 46% of South Africa's population currently benefits from grants distibuted by the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa).
The SRD grant was first introduced in 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. It helped shield people from the effects of the pandemic as hard lockdowns severely impacted their ability to generate income.
Last year, the Department of Social Development appointed a panel of experts to study the impact of a Basic Income Grant. The team recommended in a report that the South African government should gradually introduce a Basic Income Grant.
Ramaphosa said that consultations have been taking place to identify the best options to replace the R350 grant. He added that any further support must be affordable and must not come at the expense of basic services or with the risk of unsustainable spending.