We back calls to extend R350 grant

Thousands of social grants beneficiaries from the surrounding villages of Mqanduli flocked to Mqanduli town to access their grants.
Thousands of social grants beneficiaries from the surrounding villages of Mqanduli flocked to Mqanduli town to access their grants.
Image: Lulamile Feni

The government must make a decision on extending the Covid-19 social relief of distress grant or to introduce a basic income grant.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, addressing ANC members during the party's 110th birthday celebrations in Limpopo, said there was a need for a basic income grant. “There is a clear need for some form of income support for unemployed and poor South Africans based on clear principles of affordability and sustainability,” he said.

His pronouncement came after a team of experts last month recommended that the country must implement a basic income grant, starting with institutionalising of the current R350 SRD grant.  

Social development minister Lindiwe Zulu also said last week that a basic income grant would likely be introduced gradually over a couple of years but her department wanted the SRD grant extended. Responding to a parliament question, Zulu said “she is of the view” that the SRD grant will be a starting point for the introduction of the basic income grant but current laws needed to be amended to make way for the scheme.

With SA's unemployment rate at an all-time high due to retrenchments as companies folded because of the negative economic impact of  Covid-19, we support the call to extend the R350 grant. The extension will assist in easing the burden on South Africans living below the poverty line.

The sooner the government takes the decision on the SRD grant the better, as it is due to expire at the end of March. The timing of the announcement would ease stress levels of recipients while they look for alternative means of putting food on the table.

Some may argue that the country cannot afford this as the Treasury had indicated last year that it is costing the fiscus about R40bn a month to extend the grant to March. But many households are starving and are in need of the relief in the tough economic times we are facing.

The extension of the R350 grant is for a good cause and it will further contribute towards economic activity as it's spent on essentials.

The government must make some sacrifices by cutting somewhere else in the budget to find funds to keep paying the grant to people who need it.

Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.