Parliament has been briefed on the Regulations on the Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant.
The social development department published the Regulations in Government Gazette 46271 in April 2022 in terms of the Social Assistance Act.
The notice pointed out that the Regulations were drafted with the concurrence of the finance minister.
During the 2022 State of the Nation Address, president Ramaphosa announced that the R350 Covid-19 SRD grant will be extended for a year from April 2022 to March 2023.
The Regulations focus on persons eligible for Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress; procedure for application for Covid Social Relief of Distress; date of application and consent by applicant to information sharing; amount and period of payment and appeal against decision of Agency.
The Regulations stipulate that people with insufficient means “may qualify for the social relief of distress called the Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress”.
In an earlier statement, the department indicated that the Regulations were drawn up following the lifting of the National State of Disaster in April in order to provide the regulatory framework for the payment of the Covid-19 SRD grant.
Draft Regulations were published for comment in February 2022.
The department emphasised that recipients will need to reapply for the grant.
“Given that the Covid-19 SRD will now be provided for under a new legislative framework, and that additional qualifying and assessment criteria will be added, those in need of assistance will have to apply for the Covid-19 SRD, or reapply if they were previously in receipt of this grant.”
The application system opened on 23 April 2022.
In the briefing, the department pointed out that the targeted date for payments is estimated for mid-June as soon as the other social grant payments for June have taken place.
The department added that, in the previous iteration, the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) only verified income though bank accounts for appellants.
In the new iteration, SASSA will means test all applicants.
The department clarified that this can only be done by banks that “confirm whether the ID number is linked to any bank account which has received an inflow of more than R350 in the preceding month (excluding social grants and the R350 SRD grant)”.
Other developments include:
- new requirement inserted into Regulations requiring clients to confirm every 3 months whether or not they still require the grant;
- new condition added to Regulations requiring clients not to unreasonably refuse to accept employment or educational opportunities; and
- the department only has a budget for 10.5 million people therefore needed to add additional restrictions to remain within budget.