Legal Action Over Sassa R350 Grant Withdrawn | Growing calls for a change in the income threshold of the R350 grant seem to have been answered. A human rights organisation has shared how failure to do this would have had devastating consequences for the grant’s existing applicants.
Human rights organisation, Black Sash has opted to withdraw its litigation against the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa). This comes after Sassa recently made regulatory changes to the disbursement of the R350 grant in August this year.
Without seeking input or approval, the government issued Regulations in April 2022 that reduced the SRD grant’s eligibility requirement from R595 to R350 in an effort to save the budget for social grants.
In response to the amended Regulations, which are welcomed, we have since withdrawn the legal application. It nevertheless remains disheartening that it took a legal challenge for DSD to change its course and adopt a human rights-based approach to the grant system.
This meant that a beneficiary could not have more than R350 in their bank account each month, regardless of where this money came from, since they would be deemed “too rich” for the SRD award and would be disqualified as a beneficiary
According to a recent statement, Black Sash filed an urgent application with the High Court of Pretoria in June 2022, among other reasons for the review, disputing the arbitrary and exclusionary nature of this new eligibility requirement. The human rights organisation was represented by the Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS).
The use of only digital systems or online platforms for R350 grant applications, regulations favouring bank verification information over other applicant information to check eligibility, and other issues were brought up during the litigation.
“The impossibly low-income threshold of R350; and the fact that the Regulations prohibit any new information and evidence being provided when beneficiaries appeal rejections of an SRD grant application.” Black Sash further stated.
Black Sash also pointed out that, had Sassa not made the regulatory changes, 15.5 million R350 grant monthly applicants would have had to endure the devastating consequences of the agency’s decision.