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Civic groups urge government to extend Covid-19 social relief grants

Some 80 NGOs had endorsed a joint statement in which organisations have called upon the government to extend and raise the grants

Some 80 NGOs had endorsed a joint statement in which organisations have called upon the government to extend and raise the grants

Published Oct 14, 2020

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Durban - Scores of civic rights groups and trade unions have pleaded with the government to extend and increase the Covid-19 social relief of distress (SRD) grant and the caregivers grant, both of which are expected to stop at the end of this month.

Shaeera Kalla, representative for the C19 Peoples Coalition, told journalists at an online media briefing this week, which was addressed by former public protector Thuli Madonsela and SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi among others, that some 80 NGOs had endorsed a joint statement in which organisations have called upon the government to extend and raise the grants.

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Among the groups supporting the call are Black Sash, Equal Education, Cosatu, C19 Peoples Coalition and the Institute for Economic Justice.

Kalla said: “Without immediate intervention, these benefits will be terminated at the end of October, causing a humanitarian crisis with approximately 6.8 million people plunged below the food poverty line.”

Vavi said Saftu endorsed the call for the grants to be raised and extended.

“The demand of the coalition is that as a stop-gap measure the amount be increased to just over R500, which is still way below the poverty measure of R1300, which is why we continue to march in the streets to demand that the government introduce a basic income grant,” he said.

Madonsela said she supported the initiative in her personal capacity and on behalf of the social justice chair at Stellenbosch University.

“The poor are always the first to be considered dispensable. South Africa can be a truly great nation if it were to harness the full potential of its people and its natural resources,” she said.

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The Mercury

Related Topics:

Covid-19

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