Social Relief of Distress Grant extended beyond next month

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There is good news for beneficiaries of the Social Relief of Distress Grant (SRD) which will be extended beyond next month.

Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana announced the extension in his Budget Speech in the Cape Town City Hall yesterday.

The deputy chairperson of the organisation Pay the Grants, Elizabeth Raiters, has welcomed the extension.

She, however, says unemployed persons need a more permanent solution than the grant.

“That is actually very exciting news, but we would have actually appreciated it if they mentioned anything about the universal basic income grant, which is long overdue. Because they can’t keep on extending the SRD, as the SRD is not actually a permanent grant, because you might [not] get [it]. Approved the one month and then declined the next month. So it’s not permanent and it’s also not a steady grant. So beneficiaries can’t really depend on that grant.”

Government expects the number of grant beneficiaries to jump from 18,8 million people to 19,7 million.

The figures exclude COVID-19 social relief distress grant recipients.

According to the National Treasury’s Budget Review, the child support grant and old age grant make up nearly 60% of the total grant expenditure over the next three years.

The old age grant, war veterans grant, disability grant and care dependency grant will all increase by R90 in April 2024 and another R10 in October 2024.

The foster care grant will be added by R50 in April 2024, and the child support grant will rise by R20 in April 2024.

Budget surplus

Meanwhile, Godongwana says government has achieved a budget surplus for the first time since 2008.

Godongwana says government’s total consolidated spending will amount to R2.3 trillion in the 2024-25 financial year.

He says R57 billion in additional resources will be provided to preserve staffing levels in the health and education departments.

“We have been able to reverse some of the fiscal consolidation announced at the time of the MTBPS. In this Budget, I am able to announce that the education sector is allocated an additional R25.7 billion for the carry-through costs of the wage increase over the medium term.”

“At the same time, we were able to protect the budgets of critical programmes such as the school nutrition programme,” adds Godongwana.-Additional reporting by Naledi Ngcobo & Tshepo Mongoai

Below is the full Budget Speech