The Department of Social Development has gazetted the official increases to the country’s various social grants, which will take effect from 1 April 2023.

The grants will see two boosts in the coming month, with the first bigger hike in value coming on 1 April, and a second, smaller boost happening from 1 October.

During his 2023 Budget Speech, finance minister Enoch Godongwana announced that social grants will increase by at least 5% in the next financial year.

R66 billion has been allocated to the Department of Social Development over the medium term, with R36 billion to fund the extension of the Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant until 31 March 2024.

R30 billion will be used for inflation-linked increases for other social grants, Godongwana said.

The grant changes are as follows:

GrantCurrent value1 April 20231 October 2023
Older PersonsR1 990R2 080R2 090
Older Persons 75 yrs+ (Additional payment)R1 990 + R20R2 080 + R20R2 090 + R20
War Veterans’ (including Additional payment)R1 990 + R20R2 080 + R20R2 090 + R20
DisabilityR1 990R2 080R2 090
Care DependencyR1 990R2 080R2 090
Foster ChildR1 070R1 120R1 130
Child SupportR480R500R510
Child Support (Top-Up)R480 + R240R500 + R250R510 + R250

According to Treasury, in the medium term, social development is expected to receive some R1.1 trillion over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) for “social grants and welfare services, and to strengthen advocacy for the empowerment of women, youth and people living with disabilities”.

The child care and old age grants continue to receive the largest proportion of the government’s spending, with the state anticipating growth in beneficiaries over the next three years.

The child support and old age grants account for about 70% of total grant expenditure over the MTEF period. These two grants will be provided to a total of 17.5 million beneficiaries in 2023/24. Social grants will increase in line with inflation over the medium term, Treasury said.

Expenditure on social grants will increase from R233 billion in 2022/23 to R248.4 billion in 2025/26 due to increases in the number of recipients and the value of the grants.

Excluding the Covid-19 social relief of distress grant, social grant coverage is expected to increase from about 18.6 million beneficiaries in March 2023 to 19.6 million beneficiaries by March 2026.

R350 SRD grant

While the SRD grant will continue for now, the government said it is considering options to provide alternative social protection to those receiving it.

“Government is still considering alternative options to provide appropriate social protection for the working-age population that can replace or complement the current grant,” Godongwana said.

There have been repeated calls from within the ANC, think tanks and social groups to make the R350 grant permanent and to increase its value to better help alleviate poverty.

The Institute for Economic Justice (IEJ) and the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI) have both supported this, saying that the grant at its current levels is inadequte.

They propose that the value of the grant should be raised immediately to at least R413 to account for inflation since 2020, and a plan be put in place to increase it progressively until it reaches the current food poverty line (R663).

They also want more people to be allowed to qualify for the grant by raising the means test for the relief to the upper-bound poverty line of R1,417.

The Department of Social Development noted that funds spent on the grant are lower than projected in 2022/23 due to improved means testing.

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