South Africa reinstates social relief of distress grant

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South African economists and organizations have welcomed the reintroduction of the R350 (about 23.6 U.S. dollars) Special COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress (SRD).

South African government introduced the temporary assistance program in May 2020 to unemployed South Africans during the protracted lockdown period to help with hunger relief. It was the first of its kind in the history of the country. The grant program came to an end earlier this year. It is estimated that the program has since been preventing acute hunger for more than 6 million people.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced Sunday that the social relief of distress grant will be reinstated until March 2022 with more people to qualify. Caregivers who currently receive Child Support Grants (CSG), for instance, would also be eligible for the social grant.

Economist Duma Gqubule from Centre for Economic Development and Transformation said this was a “victory” for caregivers.

“The president responded to the criticism from feminist activists who had been condemning the exclusion of women who have children from being beneficiaries of this grant. He introduced the category of caregivers, this simply means if you have a child that receives a social grant, you can also benefit from this grant,” he told Xinhua.

Human Rights organization Black Sash said that they welcomed the fact that the grant would include women already getting child grants.

“We are pleased that the grant’s eligibility criteria has now been expanded to include unemployed caregivers who receive the Child Support Grant on behalf of children. About 95 percent of CSG recipients are women who were unfairly discriminated against as individuals in their own right by not being eligible for the previous COVID-19 SRD grant,” said the organization. Enditem

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