Concerns have been raised about the R350 grant not being enough to sustain its recipients. President Cyril Ramaphosa has shed light on this issue and offered an explanation.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has stated that government does not have enough money to increase the Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant, also known as the R350 grant.
The grant was first introduced in May 2020 as a temporary measure to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable during the pandemic. The grant was soon found to be effective after its implementation.
Ramaphosa was speaking in the Ugu districts in KwaZulu-Natal, where the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) sat for this week, taking Parliament to the people.
During the session, community members raised various concerns, including that the grant is not enough to sustain them.
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The President has said that while he was aware that the grant may not be enough, it was all that government could offer at the moment.
“We know that to most of you, the money is not enough and that people want the money to be increased but the government does not have enough money for that but we will continue with the grant, even in the coming year,” said Ramaphosa.
Within this year, the income threshold for the SRD grant has been gazetted to be increased to the food poverty line, going from R350 to R624, thus allowing more people to apply, qualify and receive some financial support.
However, the National Treasury of South Africa has been hinting that it may hit a financial wall when it comes to disbursing the SRD grant.
The long-time discussion of implementing a permanent Basic Income Grant (BIG) also recently became a reality, meaning it would provide income support for individuals between 18 and 59 years old who are struggling to make ends meet and don’t have any social assistance.
While the recipients of the original SRD grant are grateful for whatever financial support they can get, the threshold increase (to R624) would be even more of a godsend.
Living only on R350 a month is not enough, especially as South Africa grapples with a high cost of living.
But, although these promised changes are somewhat welcomed, the National Treasury reminds South Africans that these plans require funding, which the country may not have.
South Africans are now impatiently waiting for the changes that come with both grants to officially take flight.