With the increasing number of people in South Africa who are dependent on some form of income support, government has decided to increase monthly pay-outs to social grant beneficiaries.
At his State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Thursday, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that government will ensure that existing social grants are increased to cushion the poor against rising inflation and cost of living.
“It is the job of the state to provide a minimum level of protection below which no South African will fall. Right now, in our country, there are more than 25 million people who receive some form of income support,’ said Ramaphosa
The President noted that the rising cost of living is of great concern as it deepens poverty and inequality, with millions of South Africans unable to provide for themselves and their families.
To provide additional support, government will maintain and continue the R350 Social Relief of Distress Grant (SRD) in an effort to reduce the rising cost of living, adds Ramaphosa.
Currently around 7.8 million people rely on SRD grants and roughly 60% of government’s budget is spent on what is known as the social wage, providing various forms of support, basic services and assistance to households and individuals to combat poverty and hunger.
Despite various fiscal constraints, Ramaphosa affirmed that work was underway to develop a permanent mechanism for targeted basic income support for the most vulnerable.
He said National Treasury was also considering “urgent measures” to shield the most vulnerable from the impact of load shedding on soaring food prices.
“This will build on the innovation we have introduced through the SRD [Social Relief of Distress] Grant, including linking the data that we have across government to make sure we reach all those who are in need,” the President said.
Additionally, the President highlighted that around two million indigent households receive free basic water, free basic electricity and free solid waste removal.
Further details on the social grants will be detailed in this years Budget speech, set to be delivered by Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana on 22 February 2023.