SRD R350 grants will remain unchanged

Published Feb 22, 2024


The National Treasury has allocated R33.6 billion for the social relief of distress grant in the 2024/25 Budget tabled by Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana on Wednesday.

However, there is no provision for an increase in the grant that was introduced to cushion the unemployed when Covid-19 was reported in South Africa in 2020.

There are also no allocations made for the next two financial years, 2025/26 and 2026/27.

The National Treasury’s Budget review document said provisional allocation was added for the next two years pending a decision on continuing with it and funding the grant beyond March next year.

Tabling his Budget speech in Parliament, Godongwana said work was under way to improve the Covid-19 social relief of distress grant by April.

“The National Treasury will work with the Department of Social Development in ensuring that improvements in this grant are captured in the final regulations.

“These improvements will be within the current fiscal framework,” he said.

“For the extension of the grant beyond 2025, the social security policy reform together with the funding will be finalised,” Godongwna said.

Other grant beneficiaries, excluding Covid-19 grant recipients, will receive increases.

Godongwana said the permanent social grants were increased to keep pace with inflation and increase access.

He said there was a R100 increase for the old age, war veterans, disability and care dependency grants.

“This amount will be divided into R90, effective from April and R10 effective October.”

Godongwana also announced a R50 increase to the foster care grant and a R20 increase to the child support grant.

“We are sensitive to the increase in the cost of living for the nearly 19million South Africans who rely on these grants to make ends meet.

“In this regard, we have done as much as the fiscal envelope allows.”

Meanwhile, the Department of Health has been allocated R848bn over the 2024 medium-term expenditure framework period.

Godongwana said R11.6bn was allocated to address the 2023 wage agreement, R27.3bn for infrastructure and R1.4bn for the NHI.

“The allocation for the NHI is a demonstration of the government’s commitment to this policy.

“There remain a range of system-strengthening activities that are key enablers of an improved public health care system,” Godongwana said.

The activities included building national health information systems and digital patient records, upgrading health facilities and improving the quality of care to ensure they meet minimum criteria to be certified and accredited for contracting under NHI, he said.

Other activities include strengthening facility and district management in preparation for contracting under NHI, granting semi-autonomous status for central hospitals and developing reference prices and provider payment methods for hospitals.

“Many of these activities are already under way but require further development before the NHI can be rolled out at scale,” Godongwana said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said during the State of the Nation Address that he was “looking for a pen” to sign the NHI bill that was passed by Parliament last year.

He had said the NHI would be incrementally implemented, dealing with issues like health system financing, the health workforce, medical products, vaccines and technologies and health information systems.

Cape Times