Expert Believes SRD Grant Administration Needs Improvement


The Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant serves as a lifeline for millions of vulnerable people living in South Africa. However, technical challenges have prevented individuals from receiving their money.




Earlier this year it was announced that the South African Post Office (Sapo) will no longer distribute the SRD grant. This would eliminate the need for the grant's beneficiaries to visit a Sapo branch on a specific day and wait in a long queue to collect their money.

Instead, SRD grant beneficiaries would now be able to collect their grants at retail outlets at a time that best suits their schedules. These retail outlets include Checkers, Pick N Pay, Shoprite and Boxer stores. These payments would be facilitated by the PostBank

However, technical glitches have prevented SRD grant recipients from collecting their grants at retail outlets. The PostBank apologised for the glitches and called for grant recipients to be patient while they work to get their system to full capacity.

Research Associate with the Institute for Economic Justice, Dr Kelle Howson says individuals are becoming demoralised by the social support mechanism in the country.

Howson explains that this demoralisation was caused in part by the introduction of new requirements along with questions that needed to be answered during the SRD grant application process.

Applicants can only apply for the SRD grant online which could potentially exclude individuals who may not have access to the internet. The application website is also only in English which could make it difficult for individuals who don't speak the language.

They said, “We acknowledge that this grant has been put into place very rapidly in emergency conditions but we're just simply saying it's not good enough that a grant that is supposed to target the most vulnerable actually ends up excluding the most vulnerable because of these exclusionary systems”.

Howson adds that by the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) introducing a means test which evaluates if people have too much money to receive support, many individuals who require support will be excluded.

This was observed when Sassa lowered the income threshold for the SRD grant to R350 which resulted in only 5 million people benefiting from the grant. Under the previous income threshold of R595, more than 10 million people benefited from the grant.





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