Government plans to improve R350 social relief grant

  • During yesterday’s SONA, President Cyril Ramaphosa assured South Africans that government will extend and improve the R350 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant.
  • The SRD grant current assists 9 million unemployed citizens, according to government.
  • Ramaphosa said government will “extend it and improve it”, but did not share any sort of timeline.

President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered his final State of the Nation Address (SONA), using the opportunity to highlight several positive achievements and future plans that government plans to undertake in the coming year.

This is not all that surprising given the country is in a key national election year, and one of the areas that the president emphasised was that of the R350 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grants that have been a fixture locally even since the pandemic a few years ago.

To that end, Ramaphosa said that more work will be done in order to increase the reach of these R350 grants.

“In the midst of the pandemic, we introduced the special SRD Grant, which currently reaches some 9 million unemployed people every month. We have seen the benefits of this grant and will extend it and improve it as the next step towards income support for the unemployed,” the president explained.

“These grants and subsidies do much more than give people what they need to live. They are an investment in the future. Social assistance has been shown to increase school enrolment and attendance, lower drop-out rates, and improve the pass rate,” he pointed out.

While the extension and improvement of the R350 grants will be welcome news to many South Africans, especially as unemployment locally has reached some of its highest percentages in recent years, there was little in terms of tangible actions that will be taken.

On that front, there was no mention of how much longer the grants will be extended for, nor was there any indication of what the increase in the R350 would be, if any.

As such, we will need to wait to see if government will indeed look to improve its current SRD grants, or whether its motive during yesterday’s SONA was simply to garner more support from potential unemployed voters in an election year.

[Image – Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash]


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