Millions of grant beneficiaries will be waiting to find out how much social grants will increase as the Sassa Grant Increases Will Be Announced Today.
Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana will deliver the 2023 Budget Speech on Wednesday, 22 February. During the speech, the minister will announce the increases to the permanent grants distributed by the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa).
According to Statistics South Africa, around 48% of the country’s population received social grants from Sassa in 2022. This equates to around 28 million people.
During the State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Cyril Ramaphosa said that the grant increase will form part of the government’s efforts to mitigate the impact of the rising cost of living.
READ ALSO: These Are The SASSA Grant Increases For 2023
Rising inflation has seen the cost of food items increase over the last 12 months. The cost of the average household food basket increased by R516,40 (11,7%) from R4,401 in January 2022 to R4,917 in January 2023.
The food basket includes the foods and the volumes of these foods which women living in a family of seven members (an average low-income household size) try and secure each month.
Social grant beneficiary Yvonne Mhlakaza receives an older person’s grant and receives child support grants for their grandchildren. However, in recent months, they have found that they do not have enough money to purchase enough food for the month.
They said, “I can’t afford to give them transport money. We end up having shortages. We live in the shack that’s leaking, truly I can’t even afford to buy clothes for them.”
Mhlakaza is hoping that the increases in social grants will enable them to take care of their grandchildren.
Social Relief of Distress Grant/R350 grant
The Finance Minister will also reveal the government’s plans for the continued implementation of the Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant. However, it is unlikely that increases to the SRD grant will be announced.
In January, Sassa received over 13,5 million applications for the SRD grant. Of this number, between 7.4 million and 7.8 million clients are approved for payment monthly.
Executive Manager of Grants Administration at Sassa Brenton van Vrede said the R350 received by beneficiaries of the grant was certainly not a lot of money.
However, they explained that the Department of Social Development (DSD) was bound by budget constraints and the available funding available to Sassa to provide the grant.
“Ideally, the grant should have been increased to over R400 by now, but budgetary constraints were a huge hindrance to such an increase.”
The DSD said the SRD grant is vital as it provides millions of people with a basic source of income. However, they acknowledged that the value of the grant was very little and suggested that the government should contemplate increasing the amount received by beneficiaries.
Grant Payment Challenges
During the SONA, President Ramaphosa announced that the National Assembly is considering the Postbank Amendment Bill. Postbank is also reviewing its service offerings so that it can provide a viable and affordable alternative to commercial banks.
While grant increases will be welcomed by beneficiaries, many have struggled to access their money as the Postbank faced several challenges.
Civil society group Black Sash argued it was remiss of the President to encourage the services of Postbank, due to the challenges the Postbank faced when paying social grants which left social grant beneficiaries without their money.
Black Sash said the lack of communication and transparency to grant beneficiaries and other stakeholders of the move from SAPO to Postbank has left thousands without a grant during the most “wonderful time of the year”.
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Demzyportal Category: SASSA