Bring back + increase R350 SRD grant until it’s turned into Basic Income Support

*Update* We won’t give up! President Ramaphosa may have ignored our campaign and failed to extend the R350 grant. But it was the President who introduced the R350 grant in April 2020, and the President still has the power to bring back and increase the R350 SRD grant until it’s turned into Basic Income Support.

We hand-delivered the names of over 58,000 people to the Presidency on the 30th of April, with our campaign demands below. The Presidency promised us that the matter was ‘under discussion’. When we followed up, the Presidency said we should instead contact the Department of Social Development. We did this, but the Department of Social Development has ignored us. But this does not matter. We will not stand by while people starve. We will continue to build public pressure until our leaders have no choice but to respond and act.

This petition will only end when we have achieved our ultimate goal; The implementation of permanent social assistance in the form of Basic Income Support for those aged 18 to 59 with little to no income, valued at the upper-bound poverty line, currently R1,268.00 per month. Basic Income Support must be also given to caregivers, refugees, permanent residents, asylum seekers and migrant workers with special permits. Basic Income Support is a start; the ultimate goal is universal basic income.

People were struggling to survive well before the COVID-19 pandemic, and that is why for decades our leaders have been called on to introduce permanent basic income.

[The original petition text and demands can be found below]
On 30 April 2021, the R350 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant could come to an end if we don’t put enough pressure on our leaders. Cutting the SRD grant will plunge millions of our people even deeper into poverty. The President, Minister of Finance and Minister of Social Development have the power to not only extend the SRD grant but increase the grant to at least R585 per month, expand the grant to include caregivers and keep the SRD grant in place until it is converted into the long-overdue Basic Income Support. Millions of our people live in fear that the SRD grant won’t be renewed, this is unacceptable.

Dear President Ramaphosa, Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni and Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu,

You have a responsibility to make sure people in Mzansi live decent lives. The people you have a mandate to serve are hungry and struggling to survive [1] as they battle the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and other burdens. The R350 SRD grant has been a step in the right direction and has helped put a bit more food on the table for about 6 million recipients [2]. But not only is R350 nowhere near enough, even before COVID-19, our people were already struggling. We stand with demands made by Black Sash and call on you to:

– Extend the SRD grant until it is turned into Basic Income Support.
Increase the SRD grant to at the very least the Food Poverty Line, which is currently R585 per person per month.

– Expand the SRD grant. Caregivers must qualify for the COVID-19 SRD grant, regardless of whether they are receiving a Child Support Grant on behalf of their children.

– Reassess the unduly harsh and narrow criteria for accessing the SRD grant, and improve the administration of the SRD grant.

– The SRD grant must be kept until Basic Income Support is in place. Implementing Basic Income Support means;

1. Implement permanent social assistance for those aged 18 to 59 with no to little income, valued at the upper-bound poverty line, currently R1,268.00 per month.
2. Caregivers, who receive the Child Support Grant, must qualify for Basic Income Support;
3. Ensure that the above provisions apply to refugees, permanent residents, asylum seekers and migrant workers with special permits; and
4. Work towards a universal basic income.

[1] Basic food basket for the poor remains lean, Ina Opperman, April 2021

[2] https://www.gov.za/speeches/minister-lindiwe-zulu-update-social-development-interventions-during-covid-19-26-feb-2021