Minister clarifies position on social relief of distress grants

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Pretoria - Government has appealed to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) not to create a false impression that the Social Relief of Distress (SRD) is accessible by all South Africans, regardless of their economic standing.

In a statement on Tuesday, Social Development Minister Zola Skweyiya, reacted to certain media reports that an NGO in the Western Cape has been advising people to apply for the grant even if they do not qualify.

"We appeal further to our traditional and local leaders, NGOs and faith based organisations who are assisting us in identifying and reaching poor households to dispense accurate information about who qualifies for the Social Relief of Distress," Minister Skweyiya said.

He added that the grant was meant to assist the poorest of the poor and the most vulnerable households.

The Social Relief of Distress is a temporary form of government assistance given to poor households facing undue hardship and can last up to three months. It maybe dispensed in the form of food parcels, vouchers and school uniforms.

It is a temporary provision of assistance. It is issued monthly or for any other period for a maximum period of three months. Extension of the period by a further three months may be granted in exceptional cases.

In order to qualify for a Social Relief of Distress grant, the applicant must comply with one or more of the following conditions:

* The applicant is awaiting permanent aid;
* The applicant has been found medically unfit to undertake remunerative work for a period of less than six months;
* The breadwinner is deceased and insufficient means are available;
* The applicant has been affected by a disaster, and the specific area has not yet been declared a disaster area; and the applicant has appealed against the suspension of his or her grant;
* The person is not a member of a household that is already receiving social assistance;
* The person is not receiving assistance from any other organisation.

The department was granted an additional R500 million October 2008 to intensify the fight against poverty and cushioning the poorest of the poor against rising food and fuel prices.