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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

#PayTheGrants protest held in Delft against termination of Covid-19 grant

By Shakirah Thebus Time of article published37m ago

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Cape Town – A demonstration was held at Delft Mall and in Blikkiesdorp, Delft, on Freedom Day, as part of a larger nationwide protest, against the termination of the Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant (SRDG) amid canvassing for a basic income grant (BIG).

#PayTheGrants, supported by human rights organisation Black Sash, the Institute for Economic Justice, the C19 People’s Coalition among others, demanded the indefinite continuation of the current R350 SRDG.

Around 180 organisations have endorsed the movement, including trade unions Cosatu, Saftu and Sadsawu.

#PayTheGrants said the discontinuation of the grant would have far-reaching effects on child malnutrition, gender-based violence, mental health distress, and increase food insecurity and poverty.

“Freedom Day is a day that honours the first democratic elections of South Africa in 1994, but without economic freedom, the people of South Africa are not truly free. Many call this day UnFreedom Day, because the vast majority of those in SA still live without basic dignity or food security. What freedom do they enjoy?,” said #PayTheGrants spokesperson Julia Eccles.

“To add insult to injury, the government is about to take away the one form of income assistance that almost seven million people have been relying on since Covid-19 ravaged the country, namely the Covid-19 SRDG, also known as the R350 Grant.”

#PayTheGrants said the discontinuation of the grant would have far-reaching effects on child malnutrition, gender-based violence, mental health distress, and increase food insecurity and poverty. Picture: Supplied
Picture: Supplied

Protesting the high cost of food at the major supermarkets, Bravo Thompson, said they would continue to highlight the need for the grants, and will be distributing pamphlets on Friday.

A handful of protesters joined, lifting handmade signs with “What is freedom without food?”, and “Freedom doesn’t put food on the table”. Several others had called for the grant to be extended and a requested BIG for all.

Today, Black Sash and #PayTheGrants is expected to hold a joint press conference concerning the termination of the SRDG on April 30, 2021. Faith-based groups, trade unions, and civic groups are expected to join.

Cape Argus

Credit IOL

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