The R350 Social Relief of Distress grant is set to expire in 2023 but many have wondered whether the grant will be extended or if the government has put in place another financial relief scheme for unemployed South Africans.
Millions of people in South Africa are beneficiaries of the R350 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant which is provided to unemployed individuals who do not receive any other income.
The Special Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant of R350 was introduced by President Cyril Ramaphosa in 2020 when he declared a National State of Disaster as a result of the Covid-19 global pandemic.
Unemployed individuals who could not work due to the Covid-19 restrictions received financial aid in the form of the R350 grant.
The grant has seen many extensions since 2020 and now that the country is no longer under a National State of Disaster the R350 grant is governed under the Social Assistance Act.
It is set to come to an end in March 2023 and the government has not made any statements about the grant being extended beyond that deadline.
Department of Social Development (DSD) Deputy Director General of Comprehensive Social Security, Brenda Sibeko says that the department is working on a solution for when the R350 SRD grant comes to an end on 31 March 2023.
Sibeko says that the DSD is working with other departments including National Treasury on how to find solutions for the continued need for income.
The DSD is considering introducing a basic income support programme but no decisions regarding this have been made yet. The department says that if this policy is approved they would still have to draft legislation which takes a lot of time.
They have suggested that the R350 SRD grant be extended after March 2023 while they put the policy and legislation in place for the basic income support programme.
Sibeko stated that the DSD has done a lot of work to ensure that people are less reliant on grants such as making sure that the beneficiaries are linked to economic opportunities. They have also engaged with the Department of Small Business and Development to help those who would like to start their own business.
The DSD aims to help more people to grow their income and not rely on the R350 grant.
However, Sibeko says that while these interventions are good they will not cover the 10.5 million people who are currently in the grant programme.