Fri. Jun 21st, 2024

SASSA Faces Legal Battle Over R350 Grant

The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) finds itself embroiled in a legal dispute over the exclusion of certain beneficiaries from the R350 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant. Allegations of deliberate exclusion due to budget constraints have sparked outrage and led to legal action against SASSA.

R350 Social Relief of Distress

The introduction sets the stage for the ongoing legal battle surrounding the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) and its administration of the R350 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant. This grant, introduced as a temporary measure to provide financial assistance amidst the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, has come under scrutiny due to allegations of unfair exclusions. At the heart of the matter lies the contention that certain vulnerable individuals are being deliberately left out of the grant program due to budgetary constraints imposed by the National Treasury in 2022.

The controversy surrounding the exclusion of beneficiaries from the R350 grant has sparked widespread concern and condemnation, particularly among advocacy groups and legal organizations. There is a growing recognition that many unemployed individuals, grappling with the harsh realities of food poverty and financial insecurity, are being denied access to much-needed assistance. This exclusion raises fundamental questions about the efficacy and fairness of social welfare programs in South Africa, particularly in addressing the needs of the most vulnerable segments of society.

350 grant

Against the backdrop of rising poverty rates and economic instability exacerbated by the pandemic, the significance of the SRD grant cannot be overstated. For many, this grant represents a lifeline, providing essential support to those struggling to make ends meet in the face of unemployment and economic hardship. However, the limitations and exclusions inherent in the grant’s administration threaten to undermine its intended purpose, leaving many in precarious financial situations without recourse.

As the legal battle unfolds, it shines a spotlight on broader issues of social inequality and economic justice in South Africa. The outcome of this dispute will have far-reaching implications for the future of social assistance programs and the government’s commitment to addressing poverty and inequality. It is against this backdrop of contention and uncertainty that the struggle for equitable access to social relief continues, with implications that extend beyond the confines of the courtroom to the lives and livelihoods of millions of South Africans.

Budget Cap Impact:

Beneficiaries excluded due to budget constraints imposed by National Treasury in 2022.

Many unemployed individuals facing food poverty are unable to access the SRD grant despite dire financial need.

Poverty Line Insights:

Stats SA’s latest figures reveal poverty lines ranging from, R760 for food poverty to R1,558 for the upper-bound poverty line.

The stark disparity between poverty lines and grant eligibility underscores the challenges faced by vulnerable populations.

Legal Proceedings:

The Institute for Economic Justice (IEJ) highlights unsuccessful appeals against rejections based on alternative income sources.

SASSA spokesperson clarifies the grant’s criteria and exclusion process, emphasizing the scrutiny of income flows into beneficiaries’ accounts.

Public Advocacy and Government Response:

The Black Sash advocates for an increase in the grant to match inflation, citing its vital role as a lifeline for the unemployed.

The Department of Social Development (DSD) remains undecided on whether to oppose the court case, raising questions about the government’s stance on social assistance.


As the legal battle unfolds, the plight of excluded beneficiaries underscores the urgent need for equitable access to social relief. With poverty rates persisting and economic challenges deepening, addressing the shortcomings in grant eligibility criteria becomes imperative. The outcome of this legal challenge holds significant implications for the future of social assistance in South Africa.