R350 grants not paid in April & May, says Institute for Economic Justice

R350 grants not paid in April & May, says Institute for Economic Justice

An agreement to pay close to 11 million people the Social Relief of Distress grant has not yet been signed. 

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Photo: Facebook, Sassa News

Government's failure to pay the R350 grant to people who depend on the money has been described as catastrophic by the Institute for Economic Justice.


The institute's Dr Kelle Howson believes that the government has not yet signed the agreement with commercial banks to ensure that qualifying beneficiaries only have R350 deposited in their accounts.


“Part of that was that everybody who applied for the grant needed to have only R350 a month income to be eligible and that includes assistance from family. They had to introduce ways to verify that, and they decided they would be verified through the banks so they would check everybody’s bank accounts to make sure they have less than R350 income to do that they needed the agreements of the banks and the minister of finance, and that is where we think the bottleneck is. 


“The agreement has not yet been signed with the banks and frankly it is shocking that the agreement was not in place before it was written into law so that is why 10.9 million people have been left waiting for their grants, two months and these are the most vulnerable people in South-Africa. 

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"These people are struggling to buy the necessities and we have heard from community organisers that people are going hungry for two or three days. This is a national disgrace and a real tragedy.”


In his national state of the nation address, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the SRD grant would be extended for another year until March 2023. 


However, beneficiaries have been left to fend for themselves since the national state of disaster came to an end. 


Howson says that the government has had plenty of time to change the administration of the grant. 


“And they introduced a lot of new eligibility criteria and that was because the Treasury allocated an arbitrary budget that was not enough money to pay everybody’s grant. Thus, the Department of Social Development and the South African Social Security Agency needed to introduce all these new criteria and systems to keep within that budget allocation.”



Appearing in parliament this week, Sassa admitted that the SRD grant had not been paid in April and May. 


It hopes that payment would be made by mid-June. 

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