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Black Sash ‘not impressed’ with R20 increase to R350 grant

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By Ragheema Mclean

Human rights organization Black Sash has called on the government to adjust social grants to ensure that basic needs of its recipients are met.

This comes after, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana announced a R20 increase in the Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant from R350 to R370.

Speaking on VOC Breakfast on Friday, Black Sash advocacy manager Hoodah Abrahams-Fayker expressed disappointment with the R20 increase, highlighting the disparity between the grant amount and the cost of living.

Abrahams-Fayker noted that the R350 grant amount has remained the same since its introduction, despite the increase in the cost of living.

She stressed,“Black Sash has consistently advocated for an increase to the food poverty line, which is currently R760.”

“We’re not impressed at all with the R20 increase. We want a significant increase to make a difference, the whole reason why the grant was introduced was to create a lifeline and a buffer against hunger and unemployment.”

“We are supported by members of a universal basic income coalition, that has also been urging for an increase. Despite these efforts, no significant change has been made.”

While the SRD grant was introduced in 2020 to assist unemployed individuals during lockdowns, it has been extended several times and now supports around nine million people in South Africa monthly.

“It is important for government to focus on job creation but that has been empty promises by the government, and it needs to be complemented by financial support by government.”

Commenting on governments argument that it is unable to increase the grant further due to ‘fiscal constraints’ Abrahams-Fayker emphasized that the argument of affordability is not meaningful, as reports indicate under-spending and wasteful expenditure in other areas.

She added, “Several civil society organizations have made proposals to government on how a significant increase could be made affordable, but it falls on deaf ears.”

VOC News

Photo: Pexels

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