Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana has announced a further one-year extension of the R350 social relief of distress (SRD) grant until March 2025.
Godongwana made the announcement while presenting this year’s Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) in Parliament on Wednesday (1 November).
R350 SRD grant extension to 2025
“R34 billion is allocated to extend the COVID-19 social relief of distress grant by another year. Over the medium term, a provisional allocation is retained while a comprehensive review of the entire social grant system is finalised,” the Minister said in his MTBPS speech.
The government introduced the grant in 2020 to cushion unemployed South Africans from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the grant was initially meant to be a short-term measure, the government has extended it several times since then.
The previous extension was set to lapse in March 2024 as the government considered the possibility of introducing a basic income grant (BIG) to succeed the SRD. However, the MTBPS states that “no policy decisions have been made and no funding solution has been agreed to.”
It adds, “Government proposes that the fiscal framework make provision for funding the grant for 2024/25. Beyond this, a comprehensive review of the entire social grant system by the Department of Social Development and the National Treasury is required.”
Over the 2024 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), the government plans to spend R949.9 billion on social protection transfers, including the old age, child support, disability and R350 SRD grants.
Overall, 61 percent of consolidated non-interest spending during the 2024 MTEF will go to the social wage, which includes health, education, housing, social protection, transport, employment and social amenities.
South Africa has one of the largest social protection expenditure programmes in the developing world (measured as a percentage of GDP).