SASSA Taken To Court Over Termination Of Caregiver Grant
The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) is in hot water after it announced that it would cut the COVID-19 R500 caregiver grant, as well as, other grants at the end of October. The Black Sash Trust, represented by the Centre for Applied Legal Studies, has urgently approached the High Court in Pretoria to order SASSA’s decision and the argument is meant to be heard on Friday.
On 23 October, SASSA took to social media saying; “all the top-up amounts for the social grants (Old Age, Disability, War Veterans, Child Support, Foster Child and Care Dependency) have come to an end. The grant amounts as from November will revert to pre-covid amounts. There is no extension to the top-up amounts.”
SASSA CASE ON CAREGIVER GRANT TO BE HEARD ON FRIDAY
On Friday 30 October 2020, the Pretoria High Court is set to hear an urgent application brought by the Black Sash Trust against SASSA and the Ministers of Social Development and Finance.
From 1 November, grants will instead go back to pre-COVID amounts and there will be no extension to the needed social relief despite the ongoing pandemic and continuing social and economic effects of lockdown.
“We argue that the Caregiver Grant is a vital measure needed to assist the most vulnerable people in our country through an unprecedented period of distress to access basic needs like food and shelter. In fact, the additional amount is closely linked to the current state of disaster and cannot come to an end until the disaster itself does, or until the effects of the disaster on our society have been addressed,” said attorney at the Centre for Applied Legal Studies Ariella Scher.
“We believe government is fully aware that these difficulties have not come to an end, given that payment of the special COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant has been extended,” she added.
“Over seven million beneficiaries of the Caregiver Grant, of which 98% are women, will be denied relief from the social and economic hardship and suffering brought on by the pandemic – all while the state of disaster remains firmly in place,” said National Director of the Black Sash Trust Lynette Maart.
R350 GRANT EXTENDED UNTIL 2021
On 28 October 2020, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni during his mid-term budget speech announced that the SASSA R350 SRD grant would remain in place until 2021. He, however, said temporary increases in other grants would have to come to an end.
“The Cabinet has decided to extend the Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant to the end of January 2021. Because this grant is so effective in reaching the unemployed, we propose to redirect R6.8 billion from the public employment programme allocation,” he said.
“The temporary increases in other grants will unfortunately have to come to an end,” he added.
Following Mboweni’s speech in Parliament, the Democratic Alliance (DA) slammed him for his priorities especially after he announced that a further R10.5 billion would be allocated to recover South African Airways (SAA) via business rescue.
DA Shadow Minister of Finance Geordin Hill-Lewis said the R10.5 billion used for SAA could have been used for one month of additional Ters, 440 new community clinics, 66 500 new RDP houses, 130 new schools, and 80 000 new teaching degrees, or 27 000 new medical graduates instead.