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Compiled by Kyle Zeeman

Digital News Editor

Left the public works programme but can’t access the R350 grant? Help is on the way

More than 8 million South Africans get the R350 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) Grant monthly, but many are still left behind.

Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu says her department is working to make sure those who conclude their Expanded Public Works (EPW) Programme service can get the R350 grant.

The R350 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) Grant was introduced at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic to provide assistance to people “in dire material need who are unable to meet their families’ most basic needs”, including those who are without work.

As of January, more than 26.5 million people receive social grants every month, including more than 8 million who receive the SRD grant.

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Zulu said this grant was often topped up in households by income from government’s EPW programme.

“R350 is not enough for a whole family. So if young people are under the EPW programme it is better,” she told eNCA at the 20th anniversary of the programmes.

Can’t get a R350 grant

However, often those who have left the programme find they are not eligible for the SRD grant.

Zulu acknowledged this and said her department was working hard to fix the issue.

“There is a problem, that once they are no longer part of the programme they cannot access the R350 grant.  

“We are changing that.”

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She shared her hope that the SRD grant would soon be converted to a basic income grant.

Is a basic income grant feasible?

A study commissioned by the Department of Social Development found a permanent SRD grant was feasible.

It said this would reduce poverty for 13.1 million beneficiaries and reduce income inequality.

However, National Treasury has reportedly told government it must make dramatic changes if it wants to keep paying the grant. This includes possibly reducing the number of government departments.