social grants April

Social grants are set to increase on 1 April 2023. Image: Sassa.

SASSA told to consider ‘making the R350 grant permanent’

The R350 grant should only be with us for six months. But it seems there’s pressure from the government’s alliance partners to extend its lifespan.

social grants April

Social grants are set to increase on 1 April 2023. Image: Sassa.

The ANC’s alliance partners have publicly stated that SASSA’s controversial R350 grant should be made a more ‘permanent fixture’ – signalling the first time that those representing the ruling party have looked at extending the scheme past its October finish date.

SASSA: “Extend R350 grant scheme” – Mapaila

Solly Mapaila is the leader of the South African Communist Party. During an address with representatives from the tripartite (ANC, SACP and Cosatu), he suggested that there was a need to “broaden the discourse” when it comes to social grants, and the current Relief of Distress payment schedule must be lengthened.

How many people have been paid the R350 grant?

According to a statement released by SASSA this week, the R350 grant has reached the following milestones:

  • 116 000 applicants have been paid the grant so far.
  • Just over six million of the applications received were valid, out of the 13 million that was received
  • More than 1.2 million applications are now at the ‘verification’ stage.
  • Around 666 000 people have been prompted to share their banking details, to complete the final stage.
  • Slightly under 1.6 million applicants have been disqualified, due to having ‘another source of income’.

Have SASSA violated human rights?

Earlier on Thursday, the DA confirmed they were reporting SASSA to the SA Human Rights Commission for their bungled handling of the R350 grant. The move comes after scores of people camped at cash-points overnight, and disgruntled crowds on Twitter complained that their relief funds had not yet arrived.

“Instead of doing the logical and humane thing to assist vulnerable South Africans, SASSA has decided to reopen offices with only 30% of its staff at work and promised to train volunteers to assist people wanting to apply for the special COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress grant of R350.”

“The Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu, has been saying she wants people to have dignity. There is no dignity in people sleeping outside and waiting forever for the special Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress grant.”