R44 billion allocated for special Covid-19 grant

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Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu delivers her department's budget vote. Photo: @The_DSD/Twitter
Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu delivers her department's budget vote. Photo: @The_DSD/Twitter


More than 10.5 million eligible South Africans will benefit from the extended R44 billion which is meant for the special Covid-19 social relief of distress grant. This was revealed by Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu during her department’s budget vote speech to the National Council of Provinces on Tuesday.

Zulu said:

We truly do understand the pain and hardship that our people are going through, and it is our intention to ensure that each of the 10.5 million eligible beneficiaries is in receipt of their payment. The payments include the payment of appeals, dating back to August 2021. These payment backlogs will be cleared and paid.

She said the special Covid-19 grant would be distributed until the end of March next year.

Zulu went on to say the department had been allocated a total of R257 billion for the 2022/23 financial year, and R248 billion of this amount would be for more than 18 million social grant beneficiaries every month.

Zulu further mentioned that an amount of R7.4 billion had been allocated to the operations and grant payment fees of the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa).

Zulu said:

Part of improving Sassa’s operational efficiency is to ensure that 95% of all face-to-face grant applications are processed within five days, while the target for new online applications is 10 days. In this previous financial year, we piloted the queue management system in the local Sassa offices. Our plan was to roll out this system nationally in the coming years.

She said Sassa began to make the first payments after working tirelessly with the banks on Monday.

“While there were 321 819 people who were paid on Monday, there are more than 700 000 beneficiaries who will be paid by the end of the week,” she said.

Zulu said they were also turning the corner in their quest to find a comprehensive legal solution to the foster care challenges that had been plaguing the sector for many years.

READ: State set to extend Covid-19 grant for another year

“An amount of R687 million in 2023/24 and R871 million in 2024/25 has been allocated for the implementation of the long-awaited extended child support grant, known as the top-up child support grant, for orphans who are in the care of relatives. Funds will be reprioritised within the current allocation of R248 billion for social grants expenditure to provide for the top-up child support grant.”

She said that, to date, Sassa had received more than 1 000 applications for eligible caregivers who were set to receive an amount of R720 per child per month.

“This financial year alone, the grant is expected to benefit over 191 000 relatives/caregivers.”

Zulu said that, during this financial year, the National Development Agency had received a transfer of R219 million to its budget as a contribution towards the fulfilment of its mandate, which includes grant funding and capacity-building for civil society organisations.

READ: Ramaphosa extends Covid-19 grant, commits R100 billion to create jobs over three years

According to Zulu, there was R63.2 billion that had been allocated to provincial departments over the 2022 medium-term expenditure framework.


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