The R350 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) is expected to come to an end in March 2022. This will leave around 9 million people without crucial financial support.
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), one of South Africa’s main trade unions, has called on the government to extend the grant beyond March 2022.
They also want the amount to be increased to above the food poverty line. This would increase the value of the grant from R350 to R624.
COSATU said ‘The government needs to extend the Covid-19 Special Relief Dispensation Grant, and increase it to the food poverty line and build upon it to achieve a Basic Income Grant (BIG)’.
Earlier this year, the Department of Social Development revealed in a report that 94% of SRD grant recipients used the grant to purchase food. Food was followed by electricity as the most frequently purchased item.
They also revealed that 7 out of every 10 SRD grant recipients lived in households with four or more members. The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) says that this strengthens the calls for a grant to be introduced, as it would assist people between the ages of 18 and 59-years-old.
The report said, ‘The Special Covid-19 SRD grant makes an important dent on poverty. When considering options for the extension of the Special Covid-19 SRD grant (or introduction of a BIG) it is important to consider not only the cost of the scenarios, but also how different subgroups are affected, and how the benefit relates to other existing benefits.
Sassa has reminded SRD grant recipients that the deadline for the first cycle of grant is on 30 November 2021. Should the money remain uncollected, it will be forfeited to the state.