Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu has announced that nearly 7.5 million people are receiving the Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant on a monthly basis.
Zulu provided an update on the SRD and Child Support Grant (CSG) Top-Up on Monday.
October is set aside as Social Development Month and is commemorated under the theme, ‘United in the Fight Against Poverty and Other Social ills’.
Zulu first apologised to South Africans and applicants of the Covid-19 SRD grant for the challenges they experienced with the end of the provisions under the national state of disaster.
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This is after the department switched over from the Disaster Management Act to the regulations of the Social Assistance Act that facilitates the implementation of SRD benefit.
The Minister highlights important issues around R350 grant at the Media Briefing. #MediaBriefing#DSDmonth pic.twitter.com/INjZuemnhG— Social Development (@The_DSD) October 10, 2022
“Whereas the Disaster Management Act enabled for us to pay the Covid-19 grant to 10.5 million beneficiaries within a short space of time, the lifting of the National State of Disaster in March 2022 challenged the department to immediately develop new regulations under the Social Assistance Act.”
She said the changes also necessitated that the provisions of the Public Finance Management Act be brought into effect so that the department does not exceed its budget.
“On the premise that the Public Finance Management Act requires us to stay within the allocated R44 billion, we introduced additional qualifying criteria. These included the introduction of the means test threshold of R350 for all applicants.”
Zulu said the department published amended regulations that simplified some complexities that were arising from the qualifying criteria following an outcry from South Africans who applied for the grant.
“These simplified regulations have had the desired effect in that the number of applicants that SASSA received increased to more than 12 million. Most importantly, we increased the test threshold from R350 to R624 that is in line with the estimated Food Poverty Line for 2022.
“We may have to consider a further adjustment to the threshold to enable more applicants to qualify for the benefit,” she added.
Zulu said the most important challenge the department continues to experience is the low up-take of the benefit by less than 50% of the budgeted amount.
“For us as the Social Development portfolio, this is very serious indictment because we continue to see the growing numbers of hungry and distressed people in the communities where we work.”
Zulu said the department encouraged all relatives who are caring for orphaned children to come forward and apply for the Child Support Grant Top-Up at their nearest SASSA offices.
“It is important to mention that the Child Support Grant Top-Up is not a new grant. The additional R240 to the standard R480 is enabled by a 2015 Cabinet-approved policy.”
SASSA CEO explains the issues around Child Support Grant (CSG) Top-Up and the R350 COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant. #MediaBriefing pic.twitter.com/O9ia7KnKW7— Social Development (@The_DSD) October 10, 2022
“By ‘Top-Up’ we mean an additional amount of R240 that supplements the standard Child Support Grant amount of R480. Only relatives caring for an orphaned child can apply for and receive the Child Support Grant Top-Up of R720 per child per month,” she said.
Zulu said the Child Support Grant Top-Up is available at all SASSA offices and the turnaround time of this application process, verification and payment should be within one month.
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