New SRD grant regulations ‘will see many existing beneficiaries being excluded’

Civil society organizations including Black Sash, #PayTheGrants, the Social Policy Initiative and the Institute for Economic Justice are demanding immediate clarification from the Department of Social Development (DSD) about new rules related to Social Relief Crisis (SRD) grants – the rules they follow. claims, they run the risk of excluding many existing beneficiaries.

The new rules for the R350-month SRD grant were published by the department on Friday (April 22).

Read: Sasa not processing new applications for R350 Kovid grant

The DSD said the grant, which was initially provided under the COVID-19 National Disaster Regulations, will now be provided under a new legislative framework within its Social Assistance Act.

Application for grant 15. to be completed digitally beforeth of the month and applicants will be considered for the grant from the month in which the application is submitted. This will be verified every month.

DSD further announced that additional eligibility and evaluation criteria have been added and those who were earlier receiving the COVID-19 SRD grant will have to apply for the same again.

But four civil society groups are not happy with the change and expressed concern over the matter in a statement issued late Monday.

“It appears that by suspending APR processing and payments, and clearing the slate of grant obligations that are now already approved, April SRD grants are putting millions of South Africans at risk,” the group warns.

It will be impossible to withdraw the social relief grant – Sachs
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Civil society partners are seeking clarity from DSD regarding the ambiguity of grant payments in April as well as whether those applying under the new framework will be paid for the month of April.

“Furthermore, and even more so, the published rules remove the income eligibility limit for SRD from the food poverty line. [R624]to R350 – which means that people are now eligible to receive SRD grants only if their income is less than R350 per month,” the group says.

“This is shocking, inhumane, regressive, and renders millions of people living below the food poverty line ineligible for government assistance.

“It also means that hundreds of thousands of beneficiaries who were previously eligible and below the threshold will no longer qualify for SRD grants under the lower limit,” the group explains.

no solution to concerns

Civil society partners say their concerns, written and raised Friday before the DSD’s announcement, are not addressed in the newly published rules.

“Indeed, the final rules are a huge step back on what was previously implied.”

Their written requests included an immediate update on payment status and SRD application procedures. They have further demanded that immediate provision be made for continuous payment and commencement of application processing.

Meanwhile, DSD’s plan to publish draft provisions for basic income support in 2024, as revealed in a recent annual performance plan presentation before Parliament’s Portfolio Committee, has been troubling for civil society participants. Is.

Read: Even after 20 years, the government is ‘discussing’ the basic income grant

This is because of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement that the COVID-19 SRD grant will be extended for only one year – from April 2022 to March 2023.

According to the civil society grouping, “although very few, it is the only lifeline of many against starvation.”

Here are their full demands made to the DSD on Friday before the new rules were gazetted:

  • To provide vulnerable people to DSD to carry out its mandate under the Social Assistance Act.
  • A public communication to provide immediate updates on the status of SRD grants for April.
  • Direct communication to the beneficiaries on the existing database regarding the status of their SRD grant.
  • Immediate publication of new rules under the Social Assistance Act to empower the payment of SRD grants, where submissions made by civil society to address challenges with grants have been given due consideration.
  • Clarity on how basic income support will be provided to the most vulnerable, including SRD beneficiaries, soon after the end of the SRD grant in March 2023.

Nondumiso Lehutso is a Moneyweb intern.

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