The Helen Suzman Foundation Makes Submissions On The amendments To The Regulations Relating To The Covid-19 Social Relief Of Distress Grant

The Helen Suzman Foundation (“HSF”) welcomes the amendments which make the Social Relief of Distress Grant (“SRDG”) more widely available to those in desperate need. Nevertheless, the HSF has submitted that the amendments be treated only as a step toward progressively realising permanent basic income support, on a fiscally sustainable basis, for South Africans who find themselves trapped outside of the labour market without an income of their own.

The HSF has submitted that this should involve, among other things, mitigating even further the exclusionary design and implementation of the current eligibility assessment process, exploring ways in which the eligibility criteria for – and the value of – the SRDG can be expanded and simplified over time, as well as introducing reforms to SASSA’s processes for delivering the SRDG in order to enhance its accountability to the public.

The HSF sees such action as an integral part of a functioning constitutional democracy and a necessary response to the guidance of section 27(1)(c) of the Constitution, which enshrines for everyone the right to have access to, among other things, “social security, including, if they are unable to support themselves and their dependants, appropriate social assistance.” While the HSF stresses the importance of careful, deliberative engagement with the economic affordability of these measures and ways in which we might sustainably finance them, such engagement cannot be divorced from the absolutely compelling moral and legal imperatives to protect South Africans from the indignities and devastation of extreme poverty.

Read the HSF’s full submission.

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Christopher Fisher
Senior Legal Researcher

Nicole Fritz