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Compiled by Vhahangwele Nemakonde

Digital Deputy News Editor

‘People need it’ – Social development calls for R350 grant extension

The department also called for an increase of the amount as it has not been increased since its introduction.

The department of social development has called for an extension of the R350 grant by another two years.

Speaking to SAFM on Friday, director-general of the department Brenda Sibeko said circumstance that led to the introduction of the grant had not changed.

According to the department, the Social Relief of Distress Grant (SRD Grant) is meant for South African citizens, refugees, asylum seekers and special permit holders between the ages of 18 and 60 years, “who have insufficient means, who do not receive social grants on behalf of herself/ himself or who are not contributing to or eligible for UIF payment, and have no financial support from any other source”.

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It was introduced as a special Covid-19 SRD grant in May 2020.

During his 2022 State of Nation Address, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the grant would be extended for a year from April 2022 to March 2023.

This was “to ensure that no person in this country has to endure the pain and indignity of hunger”, he said at the time.

Another R350 grant extension

The department is now calling for yet another extension, saying people are still in need of it as the country battles a high unemployment rate.

“We think it should be extended because we think the reasons for the grant have not changed. There is still poverty, there is still hunger and there is still unemployment in the country,” said Sibeko.

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“The people who are accessing that grant are showing us every month when we look at their income levels through their bank accounts, that they have less than R624 in their accounts. So we think it’s very important for us to make sure that they at least have enough money to buy food. Until that happens, we have to continue with the grant.”

The department also called for an increase in the amount as it has not been increased since its introduction.

“The value has been eroded by inflation over that period. So, we think it must be increased to keep up with inflation and for it to be enough to at least buy a basket of food for the month. Government must find scope because for us, this is the biggest priority that the government should have. When you’re running a country and people don’t have food, a lot of things could go wrong.”

ALSO READ: 42,329 people voluntarily cancel R350 grants, says Zulu

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