Enoch Godongwana, the Minister of Finance, is expected to announce the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement in November regarding the extension of the SRD grant. This extension will be in effect until the basic income grant policy is finalised.

By Nathi Mbulase

Lindiwe Zulu, the Minister of Social Development, has expressed her intention to seek Cabinet approval for the proposed policy on the Basic Income Grant before it is fully implemented.

Zulu also indicated that measures are already underway to extend the Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant of R350 to unemployed South Africans until 2026.

The extension of the SRD would provide the government with a sufficient timeframe to work on the implementation of the basic income grant.

Various unions and civil society organisations have put forth a proposal for a basic income grant exceeding R350, asserting that it would effectively support individuals who are currently unemployed or not actively participating in the labour market.

The SRD grant was initially implemented in 2020 in response to the impact of Covid-19 on the country. It was designed by the government to provide support and assistance to those who are economically disadvantaged and vulnerable. Since its introduction, the government has extended the grant multiple times.

In response to a written parliamentary inquiry from MP Brett Herron of the Good Party, Zulu conveyed the government’s commitment to implementing the basic income grant. The Department of Social Development is presently in the stage of concluding the policy draft, which will subsequently be presented to the Cabinet for endorsement.

“Given the ongoing vulnerability of the beneficiaries to hunger and poverty because of continuing high unemployment and the escalating food prices, the department is proposing the extension of the SRD until the end of the 2025/26 financial year, this will allow the department to finalise the Basic Income Support policy on a more permanent and sustainable intervention.

“The Department of Social Development is intending to approach Cabinet to seek approval to publish the draft BIS policy for public comments in the current financial year,” responded Zulu.

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