Conditions for young people applying for the R350 social relief of distress (SRD) grant have not changed since its introduction in 2020.
This is according to South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) spokesperson Paseka Letsatsi. He said 60% of grant recipients are young people.
The R350 SRD grant was introduced to assist those who lost economic opportunities and were adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
President Cyril Ramaphosa said in his state of the nation address the government would continue the R350 grant payment to assist the poor. The grant was last year extended until March 2024.
Speaking on Newzroom Afrika, Letsatsi said the majority of grant recipients were women between the ages of 18 and 35, most of whom received the grant due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We check if the conditions of individuals in terms of them being employed [have changed] and if they have other sources of income in their bank accounts. Some people try their luck to beat the system, but obviously our systems are such that we are able to pick up all these particular aspects,” he said.
“We have picked up that the majority of people who applied are female. We share this information with other sister departments to make sure that they understand the situation. The database which we have can assist them to do certain analysis and so forth.”
Sassa had received more than 13.5-million applications for the SRD grant by the end of January. More than 716,000 tertiary graduates applied.
Social development minister Lindiwe Zulu said between 7.4-million and 7.8-million applications were approved every month.
“All our assessments and payments are up to date and running smoothly from one month to the next.
“As far as payments are concerned, about 95% of approved applicants were paid for the early months. This coverage dropped to about 90% in August 2022. We experienced a further drop to 85% in more recent months,” she said.
Out of the 13.5-million applications, 921,154 applications were made by applicants with no schooling, 1,063,718 with primary school education, 5,296,937 with grade 10 and 5,476,511 with grade 12. A total of 716,200 tertiary graduates applied for the grant.
Zulu said the continued provision of the R350 grant is proof the government stands ready to protect its citizens, especially women, against social issues.
She said the monthly basic payment shows government buffers citizens against economic, health, social, climate change and similar shocks.
“The responsiveness of our government to novel challenges is courageously and visibly forthcoming while its long-standing commitments to continually pay the nearly 19-million disability, foster care and child support grants to eligible South Africans is unfaltering,” she said.
“Nearly all the young people who receive grants on behalf of children are young women. It is imperative that they be meaningfully empowered to improve their dignity and remove most of the socially-constructed vulnerabilities that bedevil women.”