It is anticipated that the Sassa COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) Grant, which is commonly referred to as the R350 grant, will be extended all the way through the month of March 2024.
This comes as the government continues to investigate several ideas for a grant that would replace the current one, although there has been no decision made yet about how the new award will be funded.
During the presentation of the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement that took place in Parliament on Wednesday afternoon, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana made the announcement that the grant will be extended for another year.
“The SRD award was launched in May 2020 as a temporary solution to react to the needs of the most vulnerable, who were impacted by [COVID-19 induced] lockdown measures. This grant was intended to respond to the needs of those affected by [COVID-19 induced] lockdown measures. Since then, it has been expanded on a number of occasions. According to him, “discussions on the future of the grant are still underway, and they include extremely tough considerations about finance and trade-offs.”
Because of the extension of the SRD payments, the rates of rise for other social grants, such as those for people with disabilities and senior citizens, will be lower than the rate of inflation.
According to Treasury, the SRD award is anticipated to increase by at least 8.8% per year, and its financial ramifications are projected to reach around R64.9 billion in the fiscal year 2030/31, which will have an effect on the viability of the public purse.
In light of these estimates, Godongwana said that continuing the grant for an indeterminate period of time would have a significant negative effect on the viability of the public purse.
In spite of the provision that was included in this budget, I would want to emphasise once again that any permanent extension or replacement would need for either permanent increases in revenue, permanent cutbacks in expenditure in other areas, or some combination of the two.