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Social Development Minister, Lindiwe Zulu, has told Parliament that Sonto Sithole from Dawn Park in Gauteng has used her monthly R350 COVID-19 SRD grant to start a baking business.

Zulu said this when she tabled the department’s budget vote to a mini plenary of the National Assembly on Tuesday.

She said the COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant has benefitted 6.5 million unemployed and individuals without income since its inception.

“One of the beneficiaries of this grant is Sonto Sithole of Dawn Park in Gauteng.

“With her monthly R350 grant, she started a baking business in her community. When asked what her intentions were in receiving the COVID-19 SRD grant, she responded by saying ‘I wanted to create longevity with this grant, and I am glad I started’.”

Zulu said there were several similar reports in different communities throughout the country. She said the grant beneficiaries’ attitude of self-sustainability should be promoted.

“The rapid assessment study that we initiated on the implementation and utilisation of the COVID-19 SRD grant monies is nearing completion, and its findings and recommendations will be shared with the Honorable Members.

“Preliminarily, we expect that these will be relevant for the discussions that we are having on the basic income grant, in that the study established that the implementation of the COVID-19 SRD grant did play a major role in the reduction of hunger, poverty and inequalities across our country.”

Discussion paper on the proposed basic income grant

Zulu said the need to introduce the basic income grant has become an urgent consideration by government.

The Minister said to this end, the department has developed a Basic Income Grant (BIG) discussion document and consultations on the document have resumed.

“These consultations are targeted at developing the BIG financing mechanism for the unemployed population group that is aged 19 — 59 years.

“Meanwhile, the department continues to contribute to a supplementary BIG process by the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac). We [would like to thank] the various political parties and different formations that have come forth in supporting the reopening of the BIG initiative.”

Victim support Service Bill to be sent to Cabinet

Zulu said, meanwhile, that the department continues to play a central role towards the eradication of gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF).

She said in order to accelerate government’s work in this area, society should play its part.

“During this financial year, we will be asking Cabinet to approve the gazetting of the Victim Support Service Bill. This Bill specifically addresses the lack of legislation that victim empowerment services that accommodate abused women and children are rendering.

“Once all public comments have been incorporated into the bill, it will duly be presented to Cabinet,” she said.


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