People who are financially unstable can receive aid from SASSA, a social institution. A number of grants have been initiated by SASSA for this purpose. One of these grants is the COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress (SRD). The organization was founded in March 2020. The initiative aims to support people financially affected by COVID-19. Unemployed people are usually targeted for the grant. Many South Africans are still suffering financial consequences as a result of lockdowns. This SRD grant of R350 is crucial for them. Over 10 million people are beneficiaries of the grant. This grant is often used only as a means of survival by many people.
SASSA Attempt to Reduce Budget of SRD R350 Grant
SASSA attempted to reduce the grant budget in April 2022. A change to the SRD grant’s regulations policy was made without consulting or taking advice from any department. This resulted in a reduction in the COVID-19 SRD qualifying amount.
There was a decrease in the grant from R595 to R350. SASSA beneficiaries are not allowed to own more than R350 per month in their account. COVID-19 SRD grant recipients with bank accounts exceeding R350 are known as ” too rich “. The grant beneficiary will therefore be automatically disqualified by SASSA.
Legal action against SASSA R350 has been withdrawn by Black Sash
A legal petition filed by Black Sash, the organization representing 21 million South Africans, has been withdrawn. Their goal was to overturn the previous policy of awarding grants to social enterprises, which they considered discriminatory.
A legal action filed by DSD against Black Sash has been withdrawn. Having withdrawn the legal application, the organization did the right thing. Despite this, it remains disheartening that it took legal action for DSD to take a human rights-based approach to grant making,” said Morne du Preez, CEO of Black Sash.
Black Sash Filed A Petition Against SASSA
A human rights agency, Black Sash, filed an urgent petition in the High Court of Pretoria in June 2022ition against the unwanted and exclusionary sort of amendment. Black Sash is an agency represented by (CALS) the Centre For Applied Legal Studies.
A number of issues were raised by Black Sash’s application in court. Applications for SRD grants are only accepted online, bank verification is given priority over other information in the applications, a very low grant of R350 is given by SASSA, and no solid reasons are given for rejections. Through telephone interviews, Black Sash interviewed 19 people between the ages of 22 and 56. The participants also talked about their challenges in receiving SASSA grants as they described the need for SASSA grants.
Participants discussed the issue of waiting at the post office for hours to receive payments. In another, officials stated they had no money to pay customers because they had to travel from branch to branch. The participants also raised the issue of SASSA officers taking bribes to provide payments. A report shows that half of the beneficiaries of the SRD grant only use it for one-time meals
In the aftermath of the amendments to regulations, destructive consequences began to occur. SASSA COVID-19 SRD grants were being applied for by 15.5 million needy people per month before the regulations were amended (March 2022). After the amendments were made (in April 2022), fewer than 10 million people applied for SRD grants. Three months after the COVID-19 SRD regulations were passed, around 16 million applications were decreased..
The petition filed by Black Sash highlights two fundamental problems that need to be addressed by the Department of Social Development (DSD). SRD grant regulations are being revised to correct weaknesses. Due to missed application deadlines and unclear regulations, the court issued the new rules after finding flaws in the grant process.
- For COVID-19 SRD qualification, they increased the income amount to more than R350.
- A SRD grant application no longer favors verification of bank information over the applicant’s information.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why was legal action taken against SASSA?
A lawsuit was filed due to the flawed withdrawal process of the R350 grant, which made it difficult for beneficiaries to access the funds.
Why was the legal action withdrawn?
After negotiations with SASSA, the legal action was withdrawn after SASSA committed to correct the withdrawal process’ flaws.
What are the implications of the withdrawal of legal action?
If SASSA improves the withdrawal process and ensures timely disbursement of funds, the withdrawal’s implications will likely change.
What challenges did grant recipients face?
During the withdrawal process, grant recipients encountered difficulty accessing funds, long waiting times, and technical glitches.
What is the significance of the R350 grant?
During difficult times, R350 grants provide a financial lifeline to vulnerable citizens, helping them meet their basic needs.
SASSA’s legal action over the withdrawal of its R350 grant shed light on the difficulties vulnerable citizens face in accessing their benefits. Although the action was withdrawn in hopes of a better resolution, the real success will lie in the agency’s resolve to fix the flaws and make the withdrawal process more accessible and efficient.