The conditions for the SRD grant will be challenged in court. The Institute for Economic Justice and #PayTheGrants campaign have taken a significant step in addressing concerns around the Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant by launching an application in the Pretoria High Court. SAPeople reports that the application challenges the current regulations for the SRD grant, which they argue excludes many eligible recipients. They seek a declaratory order from the court, advocating that the “income” threshold should only encompass money received from employment, business activities, or investments and not include financial support from family and friends.
The SRD grant was introduced as an emergency measure at the start of the Covid pandemic to combat extreme poverty and hunger. Despite the grant’s planned end in March 2024, there are indications that it may continue. However, budgetary constraints have resulted in only 8.5 million out of the 16.5 million eligible individuals receiving the grant, leading to deliberate exclusions, according to the IEJ director.
The applicants also challenge using databases such as SARS, the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, and the Unemployment Insurance Fund SASSA to verify income, citing inaccuracies and requesting a declaration of unlawfulness and unconstitutionality for the database verification process. They also seek to prohibit bank verification, arguing that it doesn’t consider recipient income fluctuations.
Additionally, the application calls for the allowance of in-person applications for the SRD grant, as some applicants may face barriers to accessing online applications. The current appeal process is criticized for not allowing the submission of new evidence during appeals, limiting the chances of successful appeals. The applicants propose increasing the grant and income threshold to account for inflation and the cost of living.
The case highlights the urgency of addressing SRD grant issues, considering its potential long-term impact and potential as a stepping stone towards a Basic Income Grant. A date for the court hearing is yet to be determined.
Picture: Twitter / IEJ_SA
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