President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that the Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant has been extended until March 2023 to assist unemployed citizen during the pandemic.
Ramaphosa made the announcement during the State of the Nation Address (Sona) held at the Cape Town City Hall on Thursday.
“Since the onset of Covid-19, the Social Relief of Distress Grant has provided support to more than 10 million unemployed people who were most vulnerable to the impact of the pandemic,” said Ramaphosa.
“Mindful of the proven benefits of the grant, we will extend the R350 SRD Grant for one further year, to the end of March 2023.
He said that this was a tough decision as it would have a substantial impact, as the government faced extreme fiscal constraints, but gave assurance that the government was hard at work to ensure that it is repaired.
“A fiscal crisis would hurt the poor worst of all through the deterioration of the basic services on which they rely.
“During this time, we will engage in broad consultations and detailed technical work to identify the best options to replace this grant.”
Ramaphosa said that government was still committed to establish a minimum level of support for those in greatest need.
He said that the SRD grants have helped millions of people as some have even been able to start their own businesses so as to not only rely on the grant money.
“Some people used that money to start businesses.
“Mr Thando Makhubu from Soweto received the R350 grant for 7 months last year, and saved it to open an ice-cream store that now employs four people.
“Mr Lindokuhle Msomi, an unemployed TV producer from KwaMashu Hostel, saved the R350 grant he received for nine months to start a fast food stall and to support his family.”
He said as the government remains resolute to help the need it was still going to tread carefully around matters of budget.
“Any future support must pass the test of affordability, and must not come at the expense of basic services or at the risk of unsustainable spending.”