Hannah Omarjee | email@example.com
15:03:2023 | 13:00 PM CAT
1 min read
The Department of Social Development is amending the COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant (SRD) regulations regarding the Social Assistance Act. The amendments were limited to changing the expiration date from March 2023 to March 2024.
According to Kelly Howson from the Institute for Economic Justice, the tabled budget for 2023 provides for the SRD grant to continue for another year but for fewer people. The government plans to cap the budget, and approximately two million people will be cut from the grant. The Institute is concerned that the grant will be discontinued in 2024.
Howson said, “We would like to see, first and foremost, the SRD being put into place indefinitely until it can be replaced by a more comprehensive system of basic income support.”
The poverty and unemployment crisis has deepened. Despite being inadequate, Howson believes that the grant has meant the difference between starvation and getting by for millions of South Africans, but in the same breath, the amount needs to be raised in line with inflation.
She said that the value of the grant, R350, was inadequate when it was introduced and was significantly eroded by inflation, which affected the poorest households. The Institute for Economic Justice calls for the grant to be increased to the food poverty line to provide those in need with adequate support.
When asked about the government’s claims of not having enough funds, she responded, “We just do not accept that argument. I mean, this is a question of political priorities.”
The Institute for Economic Justice believes that money should first be distributed to people struggling to feed themselves, given the rising costs of living and hunger crises.
Listen to the full interview here.