Social Grants, Set to Increase in 2024

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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

In an effort to align with inflation rates and enhance accessibility for eligible recipients, social grants in South Africa are poised for an increase. Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana unveiled these adjustments during his Budget Speech in Cape Town on Wednesday.

Acknowledging Economic Realities

“We are sensitive to the increase in the cost of living for the nearly 19 million South Africans who rely on these grants to make ends meet. In this regard, we have done as much as the fiscal envelope allows,” stated Minister Godongwana.

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Details of the Increases

The anticipated increments for the current year are as follows:

  • Old Age, War Veterans, Disability, and Care Dependency Grants: An increase of R100, divided into R90 effective from April and R10 effective from October.
  • Foster Care Grant: A R50 boost.
  • Child Support Grant: A R20 augmentation.

Social Grants :Expenditure Projections

According to the expanded Budget 2024 review by the National Treasury, social grant expenditure, excluding the SRD Grant, will surge from R217.1 billion in 2023/24 to R259.3 billion in 2026/27. This significant increase reflects the government’s commitment to providing essential support to vulnerable segments of society.

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Focus on COVID-19 Relief

While the Social Relief of Distress Grant (SRD Grant) remains unchanged, the COVID-19 SRD Grant is allocated R33.6 billion in 2024/25, with provisional allocations for the following fiscal years. This allocation underscores the government’s recognition of the ongoing impact of the pandemic on socio-economic conditions.

Enhancing the SRD Grant

Minister Godongwana highlighted ongoing efforts to enhance the COVID-19 SRD Grant by April of this year. Collaborating with the Department of Social Development, the National Treasury aims to incorporate these improvements within the existing fiscal framework. Discussions regarding the extension of the grant beyond March 2025 will also involve finalizing social security policy reforms and identifying funding sources.

Projected Beneficiary Growth

National Treasury foresees an increase in grant beneficiaries, excluding those receiving the COVID-19 SRD Grant, from 18.8 million in 2023/24 to 19.7 million in 2026/27. This upward trend reflects both demographic changes and the government’s efforts to expand social welfare coverage.

Public Reaction and Criticism

While the announcement of grant increases has been generally welcomed, some critics argue that the increments are insufficient to address the true needs of beneficiaries. Civil society organizations and opposition parties have called for more substantial increases, particularly in light of the rising cost of living and persistent poverty levels in the country. Additionally, concerns have been raised about the exclusion of certain vulnerable groups from the grant system and the need for a more comprehensive approach to social protection.

Government Response and Future Plans

In response to criticisms, government officials have defended the proposed increases as a pragmatic response within the constraints of the fiscal budget. They have emphasized the need for a balanced approach that ensures sustainability while also providing meaningful support to those in need. Looking ahead, policymakers have committed to ongoing dialogue with stakeholders to review and refine social welfare policies, with a focus on improving targeting mechanisms, enhancing service delivery, and exploring innovative financing options.


As South Africa navigates economic challenges and endeavors to uplift vulnerable populations, the adjustments to social grants underscore the government’s commitment to addressing the needs of its citizens. These increases, though modest, aim to alleviate financial burdens and foster greater social inclusivity. However, ongoing dialogue and collaboration between government, civil society, and other stakeholders will be crucial in ensuring that social welfare policies are responsive, effective, and equitable. By investing in social protection and fostering a culture of solidarity and support, South Africa can work towards building a more resilient and inclusive society for all its citizens.

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