Black Sash, others call for extension of Covid-19 grant to basic income guarantee

Social development minister Lindiwe Zulu has asked National Treasury to extend the grant

The Black Sash has called for the R350 Covid-19 grant to be extended until it is turned into a basic income guarantee. File photo.
Image: South African Government via Twitter

The Black Sash says there is no rationale for the special Covid-19 social relief of distress (SRD) grant of R350 to be terminated.

“Many people have relied on the grant which kept them from starvation,” Black Sash national advocacy manager Hoodah Abrahams-Fayker said on Thursday.

She was addressing a media briefing on the eve of the termination of the SRD grants, which are set to expire on Friday.

Black Sash and #PaytheGrants campaign seek to urge government to extend the grant until it is turned into a basic income guarantee and increase the SRD grant to the food poverty line, now at R585.

The campaign also seeks to expand the grant to unemployed adults receiving the child support grant on behalf of children.

Abrahams-Fayker said she only heard the news on Thursday morning that social development minister Lindiwe Zulu has asked National Treasury to extend the grant.

She said the organisation had hand-delivered a letter to the department of social development and the South African Social Security Agency demanding answers about the impending termination of the grant.

The human rights organisation said it only received a response to its letter on Wednesday, where the director-general acknowledged receipt and said government was considering the issue.

Abrahams-Fayker said the response shed very little light on how government would address the plight of people who would no longer receive these grants.

Bishop Victor Phalana of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference said he supported Black Sash’s call for the extension of the SRD grant during this time and its extension into a universal basic income guarantee.

“I have been much aware of the situation of the poor, the underemployed, the unemployed. We are aware of what this Covid-19 relief grant has done for many.”

A number of organisations supported the campaign by Black Sash. They include the SA Domestic Service and Alliance Workers Union, the Muslim Judicial Council, Women on Farms Project, the SA Informal Traders Alliance, and trade union federations Cosatu and Saftu.

TimesLIVE (TMG Digital)

Ernest Mabuza

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