- The Social Relief of Distress grant has collectively cost South African taxpayers R45 billion since its inception
- The grant was created to provide financial relief to unemployed South Africans during the Covid-19 pandemic
- Economists have predicted that the additional 12 months of the SRD grant will cost a further R35 billion
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JOHANNESBURG - Since April 2020, taxpayers in South Africa have contributed R45 billion collectively towards the Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant distributed by the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa).
Paseka Letsatsi, SASSA's spokesperson, said the agency is unsure how much the SRD grant will cost in 2022, as more people are registering to receive welfare. However, economists have predicted that it could cost R35 billion.
During his State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the grant, which was due to end in March 2022, would be distributed to March 2023, TimesLIVE reports.
Consequences of the SRD grant extension
Ramaphosa's announcement follows pressure from different trade unions, such as Cosatu, to extend the grant that thousands of unemployed South Africans have relied on during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to BusinessTech.
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However, Enoch Godogwana, the Minister of Finance, is not convinced that the extension is a wise decision. The minister said that South Africa's revenue should have been analysed before the grant extension was announced, but acknowledged its need.
“Deteriorating socio-economic conditions, rising joblessness and more acute inequality in the economy suggest that an SRD extension for another year is a likely minimum requirement for the political economy right now," Godogwana said.
Reactions to SRD grant extension and costs for taxpayers
"Some people who are working are getting the R350, meanwhile us sitting at home and in desperate need of the money are being declined."
"Corruption has cost taxpayers how much since 1994?"
"How many companies and jobs that money could have created? Teach how to fish insteading of giving fish."
"Those numbers include government employees and foreigners."
"This is a serious waste of money. They should have opened businesses with that money."
R350 SRD grant extended to March 2023, millions of South Africans relieved
Speaking of the extension, Briefly News previously reported that on 10 February, President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered his State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Cape Town's City Hall. During his address, Ramaphosa announced that the R350 social relief of distress (SRD) grant would be extended until March 2023.
“As much as it has had a substantial impact, we must recognise that we face extreme fiscal constraints. A fiscal crisis would hurt the poor most of all through the deterioration of the basic services on which they rely,” the president said.
Before SONA, various groups, including trade unions, expressed their desire to transform the SRD grant into a basic income grant of at least R1 500 per recipient.
Source: Briefly News