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    Revealed: The estimated cost of extending the R350 grant beyond April

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    For the third time since its inception, SASSA’s R350 grant is set to expire at the end of the month. Despite previous extensions, it’s looking likely that this really will be the end for the popular payment. Nonetheless, the campaign to keep the financial safety net in place – at least until a ‘Basic Income Grant’ is rolled out – continues in earnest.

    How many people can claim the R350 grant?

    Brookings, The US research group, has provided a full breakdown of SASSA expenditure in 2020. It reveals that more than R62.4 billion was spent on various social grants, with an estimated 61% of the population benefitting from the payments in one way or another. The figures are absolutely astounding.

    “As of mid-October, 18.5 million COVID-19 grants were distributed to six million unique individuals since May, resulting from more than nine million applications. Given the eligibility criteria for the COVID-19 grant and a few assumptions pertaining to takeup, we estimate that the grant has the potential to reach up to 10 million individuals.

    “Together, with the existing Child Support Grant that already reaches 13 million children and eight million caregivers along with other grants reaching about five million recipients, SASSA can service up to 36 million people – or 61% of the South African population. The significant reach of the social assistance component is to be commended.”

    What will it cost to extend the R350 grant?

    The R350 grant has an enormous reach, and that means that resources have to match the catchment size. Therefore, it costs the state a whopping R3.5 billion per month to keep the scheme going – or roughly $226 million.

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    This temporary grant is set to come to an end in three weeks’ time, but if another extension is announced, the government will have to dig deep into pockets that are gradually emptying, following a year of COVID-enforced lockdowns.

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    SASSA expendtiure revealed – [Table]

    • You can see the cost breakdown here:
    SASSA R350 grant
    Photo: Brookings

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