20 Million+ People Got SRD Grant In 2022

SASSA Latest News: How the R350 Grant Has Helped Millions of South Africans Survive During and After the Pandemic

The R350 grant, also known as the Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant, has become a lifeline for millions of South Africans as the country battles with extreme levels of poverty, rising unemployment, and a high cost of living crisis. Research conducted by the University of Johannesburg (UJ) has revealed that in 2022, more than 20 million people were recipients of the SRD grant, with 10.5 million people receiving it per month. This means that just under half of the population are now recipients of social assistance in the form of an unconditional cash transfer.

The SRD grant has definitely provided much-needed help to those who were/are unemployed, and has also resulted in a 25% increase in job searches amongst the beneficiaries of the grant. However, there is still limited evidence of the nature and scope of informal livelihood activities of grant beneficiaries, and how government and other social partners may be able to support people’s agency and strengthen their livelihood strategies in a context of extraordinarily high rates of unemployment.

According to UJ’s research, informal work is a “crucial livelihood strategy for grant beneficiaries who supplement their income through a multiplicity of livelihood activities,” but the intense lockdown during the period of the pandemic “had a significant impact on their [beneficiaries’] capacity to supplement grant income with informal work and self-employment.” This highlights the need for government to create more opportunities for formal and informal employment and entrepreneurship programmes for grant beneficiaries.

Positive impacts of social grants include the motivation shown by grant beneficiaries to improve their lives, the livelihood activities they engage in, and how they use grant monies to multiply their income. Additionally, social grants have reduced food insecurity, made investments in education and health, and promoted a sense of personal effectiveness.

However, UJ’s research has also highlighted a few negatives, including the fact that few beneficiaries had access to external government support, such as through small business development programmes and training opportunities to upgrade their skills to improve their earning capacity and obtain better quality jobs. There is room for government partnerships with NGOs, Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives, and development agencies to enable and support beneficiaries’ livelihood activities.

Statistics South Africa has revealed that the number of unemployed people in South Africa increased from 4.9 million in 2012 to 7.7 million in 2022, with the majority being youth. To combat this, the government has implemented a number of strategies and initiatives, such as the Presidential Employment Stimulus (PES) and the Presidential Youth Employment Initiative (PYEI), which have created over 1 million jobs.


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