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The Special COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant and Refugees

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The Special COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant and Refugees

19th May 2020

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On 11th May Minister Lindiwe Zulu launched the special COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant. This grant, worth R350 per month, seeks to offer some support, over a six month period, to those who have no access to any other form of income. It is designed to ensure that “no-one falls between the cracks”, and is part of the R500-billion package announced by President Ramaphosa as a response to the multiple crises that have resulted from the pandemic.

The President also indicated that the Child Support Grant would be increased immediately by R300 for May, and then by R500 per month for the next five months. Other grants would be increased by R250. It has been estimated that this combined package should assist some 13-million people. Civil society groups had mounted vigorous campaigns for expanded support, and these campaigns continue, particularly around the adequacy of the amounts being offered.

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The campaigners argue that this particular grant has been couched in the language of ‘safety nets’ and the assurance that everyone would have ‘a minimum of support.’ This language, it is argued, speaks to both a sustainable amount and a more universal access, and they contend that this particular grant falls short on both counts.

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