Minister in charged of Higher Education in the country as well as SA Communist Party member, Blade Nzimande, has previously asked Cabinet members to extend the SASSA R350 grant which is expected to come to an end on 7 October.
Nzimande said, “The Special Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant (SRDG) of R350 per month has offered a survival lifeline to millions. But that grant is now due to expire at the end of this month. We cannot allow this to happen. The SACP calls for a Basic Income Guarantee that is not means-tested to avoid costly administrative overheads”.
The National Lockdown still continues even as we sit on Level 1 and many households are still experiencing financial distress as companies still suffer from the effects of the pandemic. This is then a very good indication that the SRD grant should be extended.
“The SRDG grant which has been going to those who are not covered by pensions, UIF, or as care-givers by the Child Support Grant must now be converted as an urgent priority, into a Universal Basic Income Guarantee. Without this small but desperately needed lifeline many households will fall into deeper distress,” said the Minister.
The SACP national spokesperson, Alex Mashilo, made the same proposal in a press briefing in June and said, “As part of the alliance, the SACP has proposed that South Africa should consider a minimum income support grant, especially taking into account long-term structural unemployment where the unemployed do not have any form of a grant or are not covered by the Unemployment Insurance Fund.”
The Pay The Grants Campaign has also called for SASSA to make a social grant for unemployed persons between 18 and 59 years old a permanant thing.
The Pay The Grants campaign was launched through the Cash Transfers group set up by the C19 People’s Coalition and is there to give a voice to people who are being left out or who are being left to now wait for months for something to survive on.
They stated that this is the first time in our country’s history where people who fall between 18 and 59 years old who are unemployed can get state assistance under the social grant system. They are also asking of Government to introduce a permanent form of income guarantee outside of lockdown. From this SRD grant, it’s seen that “a basic income guarantee is within the state’s reach,” said the campaign.
SASSA has previously responded to these calls and said that the agency doesn’t have the necessary funds to extend the grant and that it would be up to the National Treasury.