Civil society organisations take govt to court over R350 grant

Civil society organisations have taken it upon themselves to help disadvantaged citizens and take government to court for the delays around the grant.

A South African Social Security Agency office in Pretoria. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - Unemployed South Africans who had been receiving the R350 Social Relief of Distress Grant are still waiting for the next phase of payment, after last receiving it in March this year.

Civil society organisations have taken it upon themselves to help disadvantaged citizens and take government to court for the delays around the grant.

A week ago, the South African Social Security Agency announced that the next payments of the grants will be from the middle of this month and outstanding payments would be made.

The Black Sash, among other civil groups, said millions of South Africans had not received any grants and the regulations around them were unfair.

The matter of the payment of the R350 grants may now be heard in court.

The Black Sash, #Paythegrants and the Social Policy Initiative among others, have launched litigation against government, saying the requirements that a citizen was expected to meet to qualify for the grant were unfair.

The Black Sasha’s Rachel Bukasa said government expected South Africans living in rural areas to apply online for the grant, yet they did not have either internet access or data to do so.

"The Constitution has provisions for government accountability including progressively realising the right to social distance. That means government must gradually take steps to meet people's needs over time."

The organisations are demanding that the regulations be set aside - and want government to introduce another option for applicants apart from the exclusive online portal.