Finance Minister Raises Covid-19 Relief Grant to R370

BY: LETHABO MATHOLE

The Covid-19 social relief of distress grant will be raised by R20 ( 5.7%), to R370 from April 1, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana announced in the National Assembly on Wednesday evening. During the 2020 COVID-19 crisis, the R350 grant also referred to as the Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant was initially implemented.

The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) started distributing the grant, which was meant to ease financial hardship for individuals who were most severely impacted by the pandemic when the nation was placed under lockdown and the health and livelihoods of numerous citizens were in danger.

After President Cyril Ramaphosa promised in his State of the Nation Address speech in February, that the government would “extend and improve” the grant, which has stood at R350 a month since it was introduced in May 2020. However, no increase was announced in the Budget speech in February. “I am pleased to say that, subject to the finalisation of the comprehensive social security plan, we will increase the R350 to R370 by 1 April this year,” said Godongwana.

About 9 million people now receive the grant at a cost to the government of R33.6 billion. The government has promised to eventually implement a permanent basic income grant in the future.

One of the recipients, Boitumelo Ramoja expressed her gratitude about the increase of the grant.”I am excited about the increment of the R350 grant, it will be beneficial to me,” she said with a smile.

In the Budget Speech delivered in February, by Godongwana, he announced that social grants across the board are set to increase over the course of 2024.

The increases to be implemented during this year are as follows:

• An increase of R100 to the old age, war veterans, disability, and care dependency grants.

• A R50 increase to the foster care grant; and

• A R20 increase to the child support grant.

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