Letter: Open the Social Relief of Distress Grant to all within South Africa – Scalabrini, LHR and CCL

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On 4th May 2020, the Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town, together with Lawyers for Human Rights and the Centre for Child Law, wrote to the Department of Social Development, SASSA and the Presidency about the special Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant.

This is a temporary, emergency grant for people who are in urgent material need during the covid-19 pandemic. It seems that this grant is open to SA citizens, people with refugee status, and permanent residents.

We welcome the roll-out of this much-needed grant, and other measures to increase certain SASSA grants at this time. However, in our letter, we urge DSD and SASSA to ensure that all persons are assisted and that there is equal treatment. We urgently asked that the Department of Social Development and SASSA to:

(1) Confirm that all children in South Africa – regardless of their nationality or documentation status in South Africa – are able to receive the emergency food parcels

(2) Explain why certain people (those with asylum seeker status or undocumented persons) are not able to apply to the social relief distress grant and,

(3) provide a detailed plan on how undocumented persons and asylum seekers will be assisted going forward.

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