Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu says her department returned R4.3 billion that was allocated for the R350 social relief of distress grant.
Zulu said the R4.3bn was returned to the National Treasury due to the low than expected uptake of the SRD grant.
The grant has been extended several times since it was launched by government three years ago.
During the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana announced that the SRD grant will be extended until March 2025.
Government is currently working on the modalities of a Basic Income Grant.
Political parties, civil society and trade unions have also called on the government to implement the basic income grant.
However, it was not clear how it would be funded. But Zulu said recently that they will explore various tax options to fund the basic income grant.
Godongwana said in the MTBPS the extension of the SRD grant until March 2025 will give government time to look at the comprehensive social security policy reforms and the funding model.
But in a written parliamentary reply from a question from IFP MP Liezl van der Merwe Zulu said they returned R4.3bn to the National Treasury because of low uptake.
“An amount of R4.3bn was returned to the National Treasury due to the lower than expected up take of the SRD grant. All applicants for the SRD grant are assessed on a monthly basis. When their financial situation improves and no longer meet the eligibility criteria or they voluntarily stop applying for the grant, there are significant savings on the fiscus. On average, Sassa pays the SRD grant to over 8, 5 million eligible applicants every month,” said Zulu.
The grant was introduced during the time of Covid-19 in 2020, but it has been extended several times since then.