Civil society body wants Covid grant to evolve into a basic income grant

Civil society body wants Covid grant to evolve into a basic income grant

The Civil Society Organisation (CSO) has proposed an extension and improvement of the R350 social relief distress grant (SRD).

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The proposal was made in a meeting with President Cyril Ramaphosa, Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu, and Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana on Tuesday. 

CSO representative, Rachel Bukasa says the meeting was held in response to a request by the  Institute for Economic Justice (IEJ), Black Sash Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute (SPII), #PayTheGrants, and


They were seeking an extension “beyond March 2022 and possible policy pathways to the introduction of a Basic Income Grant (BIG).”

"The President expressed his appreciation for the constructive manner in which the engagement took place, and the acknowledgment by the CSOs regarding the unprecedented measures government has taken to help households face the economic devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Bukasa.  

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"President Ramaphosa expressed his deep concern around the hardship faced by the more than 13 million unemployed and impoverished people in South Africa and the need for the government to protect the dignity of all its people while being mindful of the resource base."

Bukasa adds that further recommendations to the President included the improvement and "design of the grant; extending and expanding the eligibility criteria to reach more people who need it; and increasing the value of the grant." 


The SRD grant was introduced to unemployed South Africans in 2020 at the height of Covid-19. 


The R350 grant, which has been extended until the end of March, is estimated to cost the country approximately R23 billion.

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