The Sassa SRD R350 grant is currently given to low-income earners on receipt of their first paycheck. Some have argued this is an outdated system and needs to be replaced with a new social grant that can help boost jobs for the poor.

Millions of people who are currently benefiting from the R350 social relief of distress (SRD) grant will not be eligible for the proposed family grant.

The government wants to substitute the SRD grant with a jobseeker or caregiver grant. This proposal should be rejected since it would have terrible consequences; it could impact current beneficiaries negatively and exclude many individuals who need help.

Our criticism of this type of grant is that there is currently no structure or way to identify a household in South Africa. We know that households are poor with people living with different family members.

Sassa is preparing to slash the salary support grant by three per cent (3%) from R350 to R334. The new entitlement will cover an average of R78 per person per month (prior to taxes and deductions).

The grant is going to mainly target 4.6 million people who cannot access work. Not only will this grant help lower their income gap, but it also allows them a chance to interact with government offices and make more informed decisions regarding their lives.

This grant will not directly help people in need, but simply raises their total income. As an institution that claims to represent poor people, we believe this is fundamentally anti-poor in this regard, according to the Institute for Social Justice. We also hold the view that the jobseekers’ grant also amounts to a fundamentally flawed concept by Sassa.

“Treasury appears to support a version in which only those caring for children under the age of 2 qualify. Such a limitation radically alters the scope of the grant. There are approximately 7 million caregivers overall and 4 million who receive the SRD grant but only 1.5 million with children under 2 and in late pregnancy.”

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