Millions of unemployed individuals living in South Africa rely on the Social Relief of Distress grant to purchase basic goods and services monthly. The grant is set to be continued after a recent declaration from the president.
The Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant is an important social support mechanism for millions of unemployed people living in South Africa. The grant is paid to more than 7 million beneficiaries monthly by the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa).
As the South African government’s fiscal year approaches its conclusion, many have questioned whether the SRD grant will end in 2023. Beneficiaries of the grant will be happy to know that the grant is officially set to conclude in March 2024.
The SRD is set to continue beyond 2024 after the announcements made by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his 2023 State of the Nation Address (SONA) speech.
During the SONA speech, Ramaphosa said the government will continue its implementation of the SRD grant. This will form part of the government efforts to mitigate the rising cost of living.
“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,” said Ramaphosa.
Plans regarding the continuing payment of the SRD grant will be revealed by Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana later this month during his 2023 Budget speech. The Finance Minister will also provide details on permanent grant increases during the budget speech.
Executive Director of Social Policy Initiative Isobel Frye says they are delighted after the president announced the continuation of the SRD grant. This as the South Africa’s constitution stipulates that everyone is entitled to receive social support.
Prior to the introduction of the SRD grant, there was no social support provided to unemployed adults from Sassa. The only grants distributed by Sassa were the old age grants, children grants and disability grants.
While grant’s continuation is welcomed, Frye says the amount received by grant recipients remains a concern. The current food poverty line in the country is R624 meaning that grant recipients are living under the food poverty line.
Frye adds that their modelling of a Basic Income Grant at the value of the upper bound poverty line, approximately R1500, could stimulate growth in the economy. They say the distribution of grants with a small monetary value does not provide the growth the economy needs.