Cape Town – The plight of domestic workers, farm workers and informal traders has been raised in calls for the extension of the Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant, proven to be a lifeline during the pandemic.
The Black Sash and #PayTheGrants hosted a virtual press conference on Thursday, regarding the SRD grant which ends today, Friday.
The R350 special grant was one of the key Covid-19 mitigation measures in place, as the country entered a strict lockdown, later extended until 2021.
Demonstrations across the country are expected to take place today. #PayTheGrants Gauteng general coordinator Alfred Moyo said protests would start at 11 a.m. at several South African Post and Social Security (Sassa) offices.
Shaeera Kalla of #PayTheGrants said the terms the grants were supposed to improve have not changed.
Kalla and those in attendance called for the grant to be extended, expanded and increased.
Faith-based organizations and several workers’ unions provided support. Bishop Victor Phalana said the grant has also been used to launch small income-generating initiatives in townships and villages.
South African Domestic Services and Allied Workers Union general secretary Myrtle Witbooi said many domestic workers lack the resources to access and apply for grants.
Women on Farms (WOFP) project director Colette Solomon said seasonal female farm workers, who make up the majority of farm workers, are employed from October to March and are unemployed with no income other than the allowance. child support payments in some households.
“In a study conducted by Women on Farms with UWC in 2019, we found that 88% of seasonal women farmers in the North Cape experience severe food insecurity during the low season from April to October, when they are not employed and Covid-19, it is therefore a chronic situation of food insecurity, of food shortages experienced by agricultural workers. “
WOFP also joined others in calling for the subsidy to be increased to Rand 585 – the food poverty line.
Hoodah Abrahams-Fayker, National Advocacy Officer for Black Sash, said: “It is now a little over a year later, the disaster still exists and the situation has worsened where the need for income support is. has increased, so there is no reason to end the subsidy. “