Study shows black Africans make up 82.8% of applicants for R350 grant

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Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu.
Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu.
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  • A study reveals that black Africans make up just more than 80% of SRD grant applicants.
  • The study was commissioned by Sassa and the Department of Social Services.
  • Cyril Ramaphosa, a few months ago, said the R350 grants would be extended until the end of March next year.

A study revealed that black Africans made up 82.8% of grant applicants for the Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress (SRD).

This was according to a nationally representative rapid assessment study on the R350 special Covid-19 SRD grant.

The Department of Social Development (DSD) revealed on Thursday that, as the pandemic was still progressing, it became crucial to gather empirical evidence to inform the extent to which the grants assisted recipients, as well as to further inform whether these short-term relief initiatives were required on a continuous basis and whether they were sustainable.

The R350 grant was introduced in May 2020 when the pandemic brought about social and economic challenges.

According to DSD, this was the first "large scale digitally implemented social security measure" for an initial period of six months.

In July, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the reinstatement of the SRD grant to provide a monthly payment of R350 until the end of March 2022.

This was part of a range of measures by the government to support the economy's recovery and to provide relief to the poor and vulnerable.

READ | Covid-19: You will have to re-apply for special R350 grant - Lindiwe Zulu

The report was commissioned by DSD and the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa).

It found the grant was mostly used to buy food.

The report also found that more men (4 379 331, equating to 67.9%) were approved for the grant compared to women (2 070 585, equating to 32.1%). 

"The top-up of social grants, the Child Support Grant (CSG), primary caregiver allowance and special Covid-19 SRD grant translated to unequal treatment of men and women," DSD added.

It was further found that 70% of applicants in the survey undertaken were below the age of 34, and had matric and higher education qualifications.

An urban bias was indicated in the study because metros had disproportionately higher numbers of respondents compared to district municipalities.

The DSD added:

In addition, black Africans made up 82.8% of grant applicants and Gauteng had the highest number of respondents (28.2%), followed by KZN (18.7%).

The study revealed that 88.14% of respondents believe the grant should be given to everyone who applies because there are many poor people in South Africa.

At the same time, the majority agreed that information relating to applying for the grant was clear and available.

ALSO READ | Ramaphosa’s R350 grant not enough – economic justice group

"Finally, the findings from the qualitative research undertaken demonstrate that there are South Africans who qualify for the grant, but did not apply. One of the reasons given by the respondents was that they thought they needed a touchscreen to apply," DSD stated.

The report made several recommendations, including but not limited to the government considering developing a single citizens' registry for government services.

Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu welcomed the report, stating: "Owing to Covid-19 and, with unprecedented agility, our interventions are being challenged to continuously learn to be responsive to both the material and mental health needs of ordinary South Africans.

"Implied in the report are society-wide lessons for the improved design, targeting, resourcing, and effective implementation of future shock responses."

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