Civil society organisations (CSOs) in South Africa have urged the country’s government to extend the Covid-19 social relief of distress grant.
South Africa, according to local media reports, have recorded a high number of Covid infections, with many succumbing to the virus.
Amidst the battle to contain the spread of the virus, the country’s economy is struggling and the grant for unemployed persons comes to an end on 31 January.
‘Many people are relying on the grant, even though it is R350, it puts food on the table’, National Director for the Black Sash, Lynette Maart, said.
The government, according to the country’s constitution, is obligated to take reasonable legislative and other measures, within its available resources, to achieve the progressive realisation of the socio-economic rights of South Africans.
Sections 24 through 29 of the Bill of Rights in the South African Constitution recognise the socio-economic rights of citizens, including the right to social security.
Maart said CSOs would like to meet with President Cyril Ramaphosa to discuss in detail their demands.
‘What we want to discuss with the president is the extension of this grant and the increase of this grant to at least the food poverty line of R585 per person’, Maart said.
‘We want to talk to him about the inclusion of caregivers’ grant into the social relief of distress grant’.
The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) had said it could not extend the grants for another three months because it would cost R1.2 billion.
‘The cost of continuing to pay these grants totalled in excess of R1.5 billion. To have continued payment of the grants until end March 2021 would have cost an additional R1.2 billion, which funds are not available’, it said in a statement.
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