R500m more for social distress relief

13 November 2008

The Department of Social Development has allocated a further R500-million to help the South African Social Security Agency’s provincial offices increase their social relief of distress programmes.

Social Development Minister Zola Skweyiya announced in Pretoria this week that the funds would provide relief to households or individuals facing hardship.

“This allocation reflects our commitment to address the challenges of rising food and fuel prices faced by many of our people,” he said.

“We encourage civil society and faith-based organisations to continue to raise awareness of the social relief of distress.”

Social relief

Earlier in the year, the department allocated R124-million for social relief, of which more than 70% has already been used.

The R500-million will be divided between the nine provinces, KwaZulu-Natal being the biggest beneficiary with R119-million, and the Eastern Cape receiving R100-million. Provinces will be expected to spend this money before the end of this financial year.

Social relief of distress is a temporary provision of assistance intended for people facing hardships and unable to meet their or their families’ most basic needs.

Qualifying criteria

In order to qualify for social relief of distress, applicants must comply with one or more of the following conditions, including awaiting permanent aid:

  • Found medically unfit to undertake remunerative work for a period of less than six months
  • The breadwinner in the family is deceased and insufficient means are available
  • The applicant has been affected by a disaster and the specific area has not yet been declared a disaster area.

Social relief of distress is issued monthly or for any other period for a maximum period of three months, though extension of the period by a further three months may be granted in exceptional cases.

Source: BuaNews