Skip to main content

To: President Ramaphosa, Finance Minister Mboweni and Social Development Minister Zulu

Bring back + increase R350 SRD grant until it's turned into Basic Income Support

Photo credit: Isolezwe

*Update* We won’t give up! President Ramaphosa may have ignored our campaign and failed to extend the R350 grant. But it was the President who introduced the R350 grant in April 2020, and the President still has the power to bring back and increase the R350 SRD grant until it's turned into Basic Income Support.

We hand-delivered the names of over 58,000 people to the Presidency on the 30th of April, with our campaign demands below. The Presidency promised us that the matter was ‘under discussion’. When we followed up, the Presidency said we should instead contact the Department of Social Development. We did this, but the Department of Social Development has ignored us. But this does not matter. We will not stand by while people starve. We will continue to build public pressure until our leaders have no choice but to respond and act.

This petition will only end when we have achieved our ultimate goal; The implementation of permanent social assistance in the form of Basic Income Support for those aged 18 to 59 with little to no income, valued at the upper-bound poverty line, currently R1,268.00 per month. Basic Income Support must be also given to caregivers, refugees, permanent residents, asylum seekers and migrant workers with special permits. Basic Income Support is a start; the ultimate goal is universal basic income.

People were struggling to survive well before the COVID-19 pandemic, and that is why for decades our leaders have been called on to introduce permanent basic income.

[The original petition text and demands can be found below]
On 30 April 2021, the R350 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant could come to an end if we don’t put enough pressure on our leaders. Cutting the SRD grant will plunge millions of our people even deeper into poverty. The President, Minister of Finance and Minister of Social Development have the power to not only extend the SRD grant but increase the grant to at least R585 per month, expand the grant to include caregivers and keep the SRD grant in place until it is converted into the long-overdue Basic Income Support. Millions of our people live in fear that the SRD grant won’t be renewed, this is unacceptable.

Dear President Ramaphosa, Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni and Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu,

You have a responsibility to make sure people in Mzansi live decent lives. The people you have a mandate to serve are hungry and struggling to survive [1] as they battle the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and other burdens. The R350 SRD grant has been a step in the right direction and has helped put a bit more food on the table for about 6 million recipients [2]. But not only is R350 nowhere near enough, even before COVID-19, our people were already struggling. We stand with demands made by Black Sash and call on you to:

- Extend the SRD grant until it is turned into Basic Income Support.
Increase the SRD grant to at the very least the Food Poverty Line, which is currently R585 per person per month.

- Expand the SRD grant. Caregivers must qualify for the COVID-19 SRD grant, regardless of whether they are receiving a Child Support Grant on behalf of their children.

- Reassess the unduly harsh and narrow criteria for accessing the SRD grant, and improve the administration of the SRD grant.

- The SRD grant must be kept until Basic Income Support is in place. Implementing Basic Income Support means;

1. Implement permanent social assistance for those aged 18 to 59 with no to little income, valued at the upper-bound poverty line, currently R1,268.00 per month.
2. Caregivers, who receive the Child Support Grant, must qualify for Basic Income Support;
3. Ensure that the above provisions apply to refugees, permanent residents, asylum seekers and migrant workers with special permits; and
4. Work towards a universal basic income.

[1] Basic food basket for the poor remains lean, Ina Opperman, April 2021

[2] https://www.gov.za/speeches/minister-lindiwe-zulu-update-social-development-interventions-during-covid-19-26-feb-2021

Why is this important?

Time has run out for the R350 SRD grant, but our leaders are feeling the pressure. Finance Minister Mboweni and National Treasury are already under fire for delivering an anti-poor austerity* budget and have ignored our urgent plea to extend the R350 SRD Grant.

There is already some support for our demands. One of Parliament's Appropriations Committee members, Mr Qayiso, said the “Rate of unemployment is so high...it has reached an alarming crisis. It [Extending the SRD] is a fair request and must be considered” [1]. Other Members of Parliament also voiced their support [2] after we ensured that members of the committees on finance and appropriations heard directly from those who will be hit hardest by the decision to cut the R350 SRD grant; low-income Black women [3].

Theresa Linden, one of the campaign supporters, told Members of Parliament that “We are struggling, we are still sitting in a lockdown and not getting full salaries...hope Treasury can see that and help the people in South Africa to alleviate the poverty”.

Small jobs here and there are not enough to put enough food on the table, and many jobs don’t pay enough. Our leaders can not guarantee good jobs for everyone, but they can guarantee Basic Income Support so our people can live with dignity.

It’s been nearly 20 years since the Taylor Commissions Report recommended a Basic Income Grant [4]. We are sick of our leaders being all talk and no action. The R350 SRD grant is a stepping stone to implementing the decades’ overdue Basic Income Support for those aged 18 to 59. Over a quarter of a million people have added their names demanding Basic Income Support is urgently implemented [5].

[1] Standing Committee on Appropriations Public Hearings 12 March 2021 via
Parliament of the Republic of South Africa Youtube Channel.
[2] Joint Meeting: Standing Committee on Finance and Select Committee on Finance, 3 March 2021 via Parliament of the Republic of South Africa Youtube Channel.
[3] https://fb.watch/4j7AZtEtI5/
[4] Basic Income Grant: Briefing and Economic Feasibility - Social Development, 13 November 2002
[5] https://awethu.amandla.mobi/petitions/basic-income-support-for-aged-18-to-59-now

*Austerity refers to strict and harsh decisions and policies that cut social spending that a government can put in place to deal with debt

South Africa

Maps © Stamen; Data © OSM and contributors, ODbL


Reasons for signing

  • Bring back our R350 grand as it was supposed to be R2700.00 finish n clarr
  • I signed becouse this campign helped us to get our R350 BACK
  • Most people are in need of this grant and they are not working and this will mean a lot to them

Updates

2021-06-03 11:36:05 +0200

Despite the urgent call by civil society and an acknowledgement by Ministers that the grant cushioned the impact of the crisis, National Treasury fails to allow government to consider the economy from a human rights perspective and persists with its austerity measures. https://www.blacksash.org.za/index.php/media-and-publications/media-statements/719-no-justification-for-terminating-covid-19-srd-and-caregiver-grants

2021-05-28 12:44:17 +0200

[Update]

We won’t give up! President Ramaphosa may have ignored our campaign and failed to extend the R350 grant. But it was the President who introduced the R350 grant in April 2020, and the President still has the power to bring back and increase the R350 SRD grant until it's turned into Basic Income Support.

2021-05-20 12:36:55 +0200

[UPDATE]

We delivered the names of over 58 000 people to the office of the presidency on the 30th of April 2021, which was received and acknowledged, as seen on this post https://www.facebook.com/amandla.mobi/posts/2851112911767250

On the 4th of May, we sent an email asking the office of the presidency to tell us of the status of the R350 SRD grant. We were told that the issue of extending + increasing the R350 SRD grant is under discussion, see screenshot attached on this post https://www.facebook.com/amandla.mobi/posts/2854525941425947.

On further enquiry, we have now been referred to the Department of Social Development for answers. Sending us from department to department to get answers is unacceptable from the office of the presidency, and we will continue to push for answers and accountability, especially on when did the decision to stop the R350 SRD grant was made, who made the decision and what informed it? The public deserves answers and we will keep updated.

2021-04-23 10:12:06 +0200

5,000 signatures reached

2021-04-15 10:49:44 +0200

1,000 signatures reached

2021-04-14 09:09:20 +0200

500 signatures reached

2021-04-12 22:34:02 +0200

100 signatures reached

2021-04-12 21:04:56 +0200

50 signatures reached

2021-04-12 20:27:14 +0200

25 signatures reached

2021-04-12 18:59:45 +0200

10 signatures reached