As the closing deadline for the second cycle of the R350 grant draws closer, civic organisations have continued their calls for it to be extended. They also want the government to consider introducing a Basic Income Grant.
Civil society organisation, Black Sash continues its call for a basic income grant as well as the extension of the Social Relief Distress(SRD) grant. The organisation met with President Cyril Ramaphosa, Finance Minister, Enoch Godongwana and Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu.
Black Sash National Director, Rachel Bukasa said that they are hopeful that their call will not fall on deaf ears, as they were among the organisations that advocated for the initial extension of the R350 grant, which was subsequently approved by the government.
We are really hopeful that this call as well will be heeded and that we can put something in place long-term that is sustainable for the people of South Africa.
The organisation is also hoping that the government will consider increasing the grant to match the country’s poverty line, which currently stands at R1 268, and makes the R350 unsustainable for those the poor.
However, Bukasa also stated that the government indicated that it may have to take the country’s fiscal position into consideration before implementing the increase.
According to reports by the Finance Minister, Enoch Godogwana stated that a further extension of the R350 grant by another year is expected to cost the taxpayer a minimum of R35 billion.
The R350 grant is linked to the National State of Disaster which has so far been extended to 15 February 2022. This forms part of the reason why the Black sash is calling for a Basic Income Grant.
The National Director further states that although the government has not given any conclusive feedback on the implementation of these requests, and there has been a commitment towards further engagements.
To ensure that civil society participates in deliberations concerning policies that impact these grant beneficiaries, the organisation recommended that a fixed-term Multi-Stakeholder Task Team be formed for the immediate extension, improvement, expansion and increase of the R350 grant.
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