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BUDGET 2024 | R350 grant extended, could increase this year

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Finance minister Enoch Godongwana has allocated R33.6bn for the extension of the R350 social relief of distress (SRD) grant until March next year.

This as 60% of what the government spends, after servicing debt, goes to the social wage.

Godongwana tabled the 2024/2025 budget in parliament in Cape Town on Wednesday.

The government has been under pressure to extend and increase the Covid-19 grant or to fund an extended basic income grant (BIG). Labour unions, civil society groups and other groups have long been calling for government to convert the SRD grant to a BIG.

While he made no mention of a basic income grant in his speech, Godongwana committed to “further provisional allocations” to the SRD until 2027.

“The Covid-19 SRD grant is allocated R33.6bn in 2024/2025. Provisional allocations for social protection are added to the fiscal framework in 2025/2026 and 2026/2027, pending a decision on the continuity and funding resources of the grant beyond March 2025,” according to the budget review document.

Godongwana also hinted that the amount of R350 could increase. “Work is under way to improve the Covid-19 SRD grant by April this year. National Treasury will work with the department of social development in ensuring improvements are captured.

“These improvements will be within the fiscal framework. For the extension of the grant beyond March 2025, the social security policy reforms, with the funding source, will be finalised.”

He also announced increases to other social grants by an average of R100 a month:

  • the old age grant goes up from R2,085 to R2,185;
  • the war veterans grant rises from R2,105 to R2,205;
  • the child support grant is increased by R25, from R505 to R530;
  • the care dependency grant moves from R2,085 to R2,185;
  • the foster care grant is increased from R1,125 to R1,180; and
  • the disability grant is up from R2,085 to 2,185.

According to the budget review document, the number of grant beneficiaries, excluding beneficiaries of the SRD grant, was projected to rise from 18.8-million to 19.7-million by 2027.

This will see the government’s annual spending on social grants shooting from R217bn this year to more than R259bn “to keep pace with inflation and increase access for the eligible population”.

“Over the [three-year] medium-term expenditure framework period, R1.17-trillion is allocated for social grants and welfare services and to strengthen advocacy for women, youth and people living with disabilities. Social grants constitute 81.8% of spending in this function over the medium-term.”

Source: TIMESLIVE


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