Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

How SASSA Social Grant Recipients are Tripling Their Earnings

Recent research reveals a surprising trend among SASSA social grant recipients: millions are leveraging informal work opportunities to significantly boost their monthly income.

Insights into SASSA Social Grant Recipients

The Conversation’s quantitative research into South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) grant recipients sheds light on a remarkable phenomenon. Of the 28 million grant beneficiaries in South Africa, approximately one-third (9 million) have found ways to augment their monthly income through informal work.

Overview of SASSA Grants

Currently, 18 million people receive permanent government grants in South Africa, ranging from R2,200 for Old-age Pension to R530 for Child Support. An additional 10 million receive the R370 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant. While these grants were increased by 4.8% in April, they still fall short of keeping pace with the 6.2% consumer inflation rate in 2024.

Challenges and Solutions

Compounding the issue, the recent 12.8% rise in Eskom tariffs has exacerbated financial strain for grant recipients. In response, social justice organizations are advocating for further increases to support the vulnerable. Bridget Masango of the Democratic Alliance has pledged to raise SASSA Child Support to R760, aligning it with the food poverty line, if the party assumes power after the upcoming General Elections on May 29th.

Harnessing the Gig Economy

Despite these challenges, The Conversation’s research highlights the resourcefulness of SASSA social grant recipients. Approximately 9 million beneficiaries have tapped into the gig economy, engaging in informal work that spans various sectors such as home services, small-scale trading, and entrepreneurial ventures like taverns or spaza shops.

Tailoring Opportunities to Recipient Groups

Certain beneficiary groups are particularly adept at capitalizing on informal work opportunities. For instance, child-grant recipients demonstrate the highest propensity (11%) for engaging in “survival-oriented businesses,” followed by SRD grant recipients (9%) and old-age grant beneficiaries (4%).

Promoting Economic Empowerment

Beyond mere financial gain, SASSA social grant recipients view informal work as a pathway to fostering personal and family well-being. In the absence of formal job opportunities, they exhibit a willingness to create their own livelihoods through entrepreneurial endeavors.

Persistent Challenges

However, despite their resilience, grant recipients universally express frustration with the inadequacy of grant funds to cover their basic needs. Even with strategies like investing in community stokvels, many still grapple with financial instability.

In essence, while informal work offers a means of supplementing their income, SASSA social grant recipients continue to advocate for greater financial support to achieve sustainable livelihoods.

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