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Special Covid-19 SRD Grant Under the Spotlight

October 22, 2021

Department of Social Development

A nationally representative rapid assessment study on the Special Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) Grant has been released.

The SRD Grant of R350 was launched in May 2020 to alleviate the socio-economic challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The social development department and the South African Social Security Agency commissioned the rapid assessment study on the SRD Grant.

In a statement, the department declared that government remains committed to “lessen the social and economic impacts, and hence the R350 SRD grant is further implemented until March 2022”.

The department added that it was “crucial to gather empirical evidence to inform the extent to which these attempts have assisted individuals and/or households, as well as to further inform whether these short-term relief initiatives are required on a continuous basis and the sustainability thereof”.

According to the department, the SRD Grant is mostly used to purchase food.

“This is in line with previous research findings in South Africa and strengthens calls for a social assistance programme to cover those between the ages of 18-59”.

“This is crucial as the income obtained is shared by household members, with 71% of surveyed applicants living in households with 4 or more members. The report also finds that more men (4,379,331 equating to 67.9%) were approved for the grant as compared to women (2,070,585 equating to 32.1%).”

Recommendations flowing from the report include that receipt of Child Support Grant benefits must be disregarded when determining eligibility for the grant or a similar grant such as the Basic Income Grant; the need to improve communication channels; enhance access to information for low-income groups; elimination of exclusion of qualifying citizens through the design of application, verification and payment processes and government to consider drawing up a single citizens’ registry for government services.