(By Liezl Human)

Civil society organisations are demanding that the R350 Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress grant be extended and increased immediately. The grant is expected to end tomorrow, 30 April.

Many beneficiaries of the grant were not even aware that it is being terminated, said Alfred Moyo, a coordinator at the #PayTheGrants campaign, during a press briefing on Thursday.

The campaign, endorsed by over 200 civil society organisations, is demanding that the grant be increased to at least R585 a month, which is in line with the national food poverty line. The organisations are also demanding that the grant be made permanent.

Moyo said that R585 was barely enough to buy basic groceries for a month.

On 22 April, the campaign sent an open letter to the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu, and the Presidency, calling for the extension and increase of the grant.

Subscribe to our Free Daily All4Women Newsletter to enter

They said it was “unacceptable that the government intends to terminate the [Covid-19 grant] since the reason for its existence has remained unchanged as the pandemic continues”.

Hoodah Abrahams-Fayker, National Advocacy Manager at the Black Sash, said the Department had acknowledged their letter and said it is considering the issue. The Department also promised to set up a meeting with civil society.

Abrahams-Fayker said that the government has a constitutional obligation to provide social security and that it “urgently needs to provide a lifeline for those who cannot support themselves”.

Shaeera Kalla of the #PayTheGrants campaign said, “It is completely unfair that the people receiving these grants don’t know if they will be continuing,” she said.

Minister Zulu has apparently also asked the National Treasury for an extension of the Covid-19 grant.


Published originally on  GroundUp
.

© 2021 GroundUp. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

You may republish this article, so long as you credit the authors and GroundUp, and do not change the text. Please include a link back to the original article.

We put an invisible pixel in the article so that we can count traffic to republishers. All analytics tools are solely on our servers. We do not give our logs to any third party. Logs are deleted after two weeks. We do not use any IP address identifying information except to count regional traffic. We are solely interested in counting hits, not tracking users. If you republish, please do not delete the invisible pixel.