The Social Relief of Distress is recognised as a critical relief mechanism for millions of vulnerable people living in South Africa. The president revealed that the government intends to continue the implementation of the critical relief mechanism.
President Cyril Ramaphosa revealed that the government will continue paying the Social Relief of Distress grant. It is believed that the implementation of the SRD grant, also known as the R350 grant, will continue beyond 2024 when it is currently set to conclude.
The SRD grant was first introduced in 2020 to assist unemployed individuals during the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. The initial extension from the government was to pay the grant to vulnerable individuals for three months. However, the grant has been reintroduced and extended on several occasions.
The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) currently distributes the SRD grant to more than seven million people living across the country.
“In support of this work and to counter the rising cost of living, we will continue the Social Relief of Distress Grant, which currently reaches around 7.8 million people,” declared Ramaphosa.
The president revealed that Work is underway to develop a mechanism for targeted basic income support for the most vulnerable. This support will be provided within the country’s fiscal constraints.
“This will build on the innovation we have introduced through the SRD Grant, including linking the data that we have across government to make sure we reach all those who are in need” explained Ramaphosa.
The president also announced that permanent social grants will be increased. This will form part of the government’s efforts to mitigate the rising cost.
“We will ensure that existing social grants are increased to cushion the poor against rising inflation” explained the President.
Ramaphosa further noted that around 60% of the government’s budget is spent on the country’s social wage.
The social wage is a basket of services provided by the government to combat poverty and hunger which includes various forms of support, basic services and assistance.
Around two million households receive free basic water, free basic electricity and free solid waste removal as part of this support.