Annual government spending on South Africa’s social security is among the top priorities for the National Budget. With this in mind, the Department of Social Development recently delivered its 2023/24 with a specific focus on bolstering the financial security of grant disbursements amid the rising cost of living.
During a budget vote delivered on Tuesday, last week, Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu, announced the allocation of funds for the National Department of Social Development in the 2023/24 financial year.
The budget aims to provide crucial support to the most vulnerable members of South African society, with a particular focus on direct cash transfer payments.
The total budget allocation for the National Department of Social Development amounts to R263 billion. Of this amount, R253 billion is specifically designated for direct cash transfer payments to an estimated 27 million eligible grant beneficiaries by March 2024.
Zulu also pointed out that this sum constitutes approximately 96.4% of the Department’s total budget over the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period, ensuring that the funds reach the hands of those who need them the most.
Plans To Prioritize the Current Cycle of The SRD Grant
In addition to the direct cash transfers, an extra R41 billion has been earmarked for various purposes within the 2023/24 financial year. The allocation includes R35.7 billion for the implementation and administration of the Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant until March 2024.
This program was previously announced by the Minister of Finance, Enoch Godongwana and aims to assist individuals and families affected by the ongoing pandemic. An additional R400 million has been set aside for the administrative costs associated with the program.
Additional Allocation To Curb Inflation On Social Grants
Furthermore, R5.8 billion has been allocated to account for the inflationary increase of the value of grants. This adjustment acknowledges the rising cost of living and aims to ensure that grant recipients can meet their basic needs more effectively.
The remaining R7.8 billion is specifically designated for the administration of grants by the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa). The Minister emphasized the government’s commitment to improving the lives of vulnerable citizens through these substantial budget allocations.
The direct cash transfer payments and supplementary funds for Covid-19 relief and inflationary increases demonstrate the government’s dedication to providing crucial financial support to those in need.
By allocating a significant portion of the budget to Sassa and directly reaching the hands of beneficiaries, the government aims to uplift and empower those who rely on social grants as a lifeline.
Zulu added that the implementation of the allocated funds will be closely monitored to ensure that they are disbursed efficiently and effectively, benefiting the intended recipients and contributing to the overall well-being of the country’s most vulnerable populations.
As the country continues to navigate the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, the government’s commitment to supporting citizens through social development initiatives remains a priority, reaffirming its dedication to building more inclusive and resilient social security for the country.