Several civil society groups have called on the government to tax the rich more to fund an increase of the social relief of distress (SRD) grant from R350 to R1,447.
The groups marched to the Union Buildings and offices of the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) on Thursday (2 February) and handed over a memorandum making the demand. They included the Community Organising Working Group, Voices of the Concerned Citizens of Soweto, Sukuma Soweto Sinqobe, Amandla.Mobi and Sisonke Revolutionary Movement.
Call to increase SRD to R1,447
The groups called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to announce the government’s plans for a basic income grant (BIG) in his upcoming State of the Nation Address (SONA). Specifically, they want him to convert the SRD grant to a BIG and increase its amount to R1,447 per beneficiary per month. They also want SASSA to urgently address current challenges around the SRD grant.
“From unfair regulations to means testing with an unfair qualifying threshold, and poor communication, many have lost hope in this grant, in SASSA and the government as a whole,” the groups’ memo to SASSA stated.
In a separate memo to Ramaphosa, the groups urged the government to increase taxes on individuals earning more than R1 million per year and to introduce a wealth tax. The government would then use these tax increases to fund the SRD grant increase.
“We also appeal to the President to hold the Department of Social Development accountable for their failures in administering the R350 grant,” they said.
While they welcomed the extension of the SRD grant until March 2024, they claimed this has come at the cost of increases for other normal social grants.
“The extension of the R350 [grant] to March 2024 is a good step, but Minister Godongwana and National Treasury RSA have taken money away from the big increase other social grants need. We are in a cost-of-living crisis! We must tax the rich more!” Amandla.Mobi wrote in a Facebook post.
Acting SASSA CEO Abraham Mahlangu and Presidency official Phil Mahlangu received the respective memos.