Covid-19 grant extended to January
But top-ups to other grants will come to an end, Finance Minister announces
The R350 a month Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress grant is to be extended to the end of January, Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni has announced.
Delivering the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) in Parliament on Wednesday, Mboweni said the Covid-19 grant would be extended but top-ups to social grants would come to an end at the end of November.
On 21 April, President Ramaphosa announced that child support grant beneficiaries would receive an extra R300 in May, and between June and October would receive an additional R500 each month, while beneficiaries of all other grants, including Old Age, Disability, War Veterans, Foster Child and Care Dependency, would receive an additional R250 per month for that period.
Mboweni said that during lockdown, “cash grants were paid to over 22 million people, nearly half of the population”.
According to the MTBPS document, “an additional R6.8 billion is allocated to the Department of Social Development to extend the special Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress grant for three months until 31 January 2021. In addition, R1 billion is allocated for food relief to vulnerable households. In total, short-term social grant-based relief amounts to R48 billion in 2020/21.”
National expenditure was R7.6 billion higher than estimated for the 2019/20 period. “The overspending was mainly driven by transfers and subsidies due to the payment of social grants in March instead of April 2020.”
Civil society groups, including Black Sash, had been calling for the Covid-19 grant to continue indefinitely as part of a move to a Basic Income Grant system.
I am concerned about the extended R500 coming to an end. We have to buy Christmas presents, clothes, stationery and food, so why is the government stopping this money? It helped us – especially us single parents. I feel dizzy every time I think about how much R500 changes our lives.
Our government should not stop grants. There are so many people who provide for their families with these grants. We plead that the payment of grants should be on the 1st of the month because it will help those who can't afford anything without them.
I feel that it is important to add R500 to the child grant. It is almost Christmas and most mothers have lost their jobs. Who is going to stand up for them? Where are the women left in this? Stand up for all the single moms! R440 is not enough to support kids. What about their needs? The right to clothes and to go to school? The right to just be kids and to live without worrying about food? Help these kids and their families. Raise the child grants at least to R700 per month!
As I am writing this letter my heart is broken. I am a single parent with no job. This R500 made a huge difference but now I don't know what to do... Christmas is around the corner and I won't be able to buy food for my child and a school uniform next year. Please, let the president reconsider his decision!
I would like to thank the government very much for extending the Covid-19 grant. Some of us are not working so on 28 November (Black Friday) we can finally buy what we need.
The president said that he is extending the R350 grant until January 2021 but now when people go to the post offices they are told the money is not there. What must we do? We need this money.
It really hurts when you get to the post office and they tell you that your money isn't in yet. On my way out, I met a guy who said that he could get me my money if I gave him R150. I was shocked. I asked him how he would get it because I was told to come back next week Monday. He said he works with the people inside! I gave him my ID and he came back with R200 – he already took "their" share. R350 is too little. This crime will never end. I am sorry for what happens to the victims.
© 2020 GroundUp. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
You may republish this article, so long as you credit the authors and GroundUp, and do not change the text. Please include a link back to the original article.