The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) is facing mounting calls to extend the R350 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant as millions will be left without support once the current cycle comes to an end.
Data released by the SASSA revealed that 94% of SRD grant recipients used their money to purchase food. More than nine million people between the ages of 18 and 59-years-old benefit from the SRD grant. This age group receives no other financial support from the government in the form of grants.
The final SRD grant payments will be made in March 2022. This will leave around 9.5 million people without crucial financial support from the government.
Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana revealed that the government will look at the affordability of extending the SRD grant. The minister revealed this during his maiden Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) to parliament.
He said, “Let me however reiterate that a permanent solution in responding to these challenges is to achieve high and sustained levels of economic growth”.
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), South Africa’s largest trade union, has called on the government to extend the SRD grant. They also want the amount of the grant to be increased to the food poverty line. This would see the amount grant recipients receive grow from R350 to around R624.
A report on the first cycle of SRD grant payment revealed that Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal had a disproportionately higher number of applicants who applied for the grant (21,4% and 21,1% respectively). Around 50% of grant recipients came from households with four or more members.
Approximately 88.49% of grant recipients said the grant had a positive impact on their life.