A health workers gives a Covid test to a recent arrival into Paris from China

The COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant (SRD Grant), which the South African government introduced to support low-income individuals affected due to lockdowns, will continue until March 2025.

Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana disclosed Wednesday that R34 billion has been allocated to extend the grant for one more year. The announcement was made while the minister was delivering Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) to Parliament.

"Over the medium term, a provisional allocation is retained while a comprehensive review of the entire social grant system is finalized. The 2023 Budget indicated that the COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress grant was only funded until March 2024," he said, SA News reported.

"Government proposes that the fiscal framework make provision for funding for the grant for 2024/25. Beyond this, a comprehensive review of the entire social grant system by the Department of Social Development and the National Treasury is required," he added.

Godongwana went on to share that 61 percent of the consolidated non-interest amount is spent on social wage, including health, education, housing, social protection, transport, employment, and local amenities.

The minister further explained that out of the amount allocated, R945.9 billion will be spent on social protection transfers, including the COVID-19 social relief of distress grant, the old age grant, the child support grant, and the disability grant.

"South Africa's social protection expenditure program, measured as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), is one of the largest among developing countries," he added.

Godongwana revealed that the South African Law Reform Commission is finalizing a report on legal reform to ensure that there is less financial risk due to medico-legal claims.

"To address funding fragmentation for oncology services, allocations will be shifted from the national health insurance grant to the national tertiary services grant," he said, adding, "A single grant is also proposed to consolidate the existing personal and non-personal services components of the national health insurance indirect grant."

The minister noted that the funding will also be redirected toward the Office of Health Standards Compliance to strengthen the Health Ombud, which is a National health foundation in Pretoria, South Africa.

Last month, President Cyril Ramaphosa said that the measures he introduced to cushion the impact of an economic slowdown following the COVID-19 pandemic are the key pillars of the reconstruction and recovery plan. He added that grants allotted to the public keep millions out of poverty.