South Africa

SASSA R350 grant: Nearly R2 billion underspent

The Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu, recently revealed that the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) has struggled to disburse the entire budget allocated for the vital Social Relief of Distress (SRD) – or R350 – grant.

SASSA R350 GRANT UNDERSPENT

According to SABC News, Zulu confirmed approximately R1.7 billion was underspent due to a substantial number of applicants who failed to verify their bank accounts.

The SASSA R350 grant was introduced in May 2020 to help poor South Africans deal with economic turmoil at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his State of the Nation Address (SONA) this year, President Cyril Ramaphosa extended the grant to March 2023. At the time, approximately 10 million people were receiving the grant.

The extension required the grant to be paid out under a different legal framework and threw the system into disarray.

READ: Nearly three million recipients set to lose their SASSA R350 grant – here’s who is affected

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Subsequently, millions of people who first received the R350 grant were deemed ineligible because they had more than R350 flowing into their bank accounts every month.

The income threshold has been raised back to R624 after much public outcry, which means more people are eligible. In his mini-budget in October, the Minister of Finance, Enoch Godongwana, extended the grant to March 2024.

“No final decision has been made about a replacement or how it would be financed. As a result, the temporary grant will be extended for one year until March 2024,” said Godongwana.

Zulu said the number of R350 grant beneficiaries is expected to increase to 10 million from 7.5 million people. She also expressed concerns that the supply would not meet the demand under the current budget.

Approximately 4900 more people would have received the R350 grant if the R1.7 million was spent.

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Artmotion S.Africa

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