The Black Sash Trust, represented by the Centre for Applied Legal Studies, has urgently approached the High Court in Pretoria in an effort to protect the right to social security. SASSA confirmed a week ago that top-up amounts for social grants implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic have come to an end. We are asking the Court to interdict this decision in relation to the COVID-19 Caregiver Grant.
On Friday, 30 October, the Pretoria High Court is set to hear an urgent application brought by the Black Sash Trust against the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) and the Ministers of Social Development and Finance. This application concerns the R500 Caregiver Grant that will terminate at the end of the month.
One week ago, on 23 October, SASSA confirmed on its official Twitter account that all the top up amounts including the Caregiver Grant has come to an end. From 1 November, grants will instead go back to pre-COVID amounts and there will be no extension to this essential social relief despite the ongoing pandemic and continuing social and economic effects of lockdown. The Black Sash Trust, represented by the Centre for Applied Legal Studies, has therefore approached the High Court in Pretoria on an urgent basis to challenge this decision.
We argue that the Caregiver Grant is a vital measure needed to assist the most vulnerable people in our country through an unprecedented period of distress to access basic needs like food and shelter. In fact, the additional amount is closely linked to the current state of disaster and cannot come to an end until the disaster itself does, or until the effects of the disaster on our society have been addressed. We believe government is fully aware that these difficulties have not come to an end, given that payment of the special COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant has been extended.
“As we understand it, this top-up is a new form of social security that cannot come to an end until the state of disaster is lifted or the devastating impacts of the pandemic have been reversed. This date is certainly not Saturday, 31 October 2020,” says Ariella Scher, attorney at the Centre for Applied Legal Studies.
“Over seven million beneficiaries of the Caregiver Grant, of which 98% are women, will be denied relief from the social and economic hardship and suffering brought on by the pandemic – all while the state of disaster remains firmly in place,” says Lynette Maart, National Director of the Black Sash Trust.
The hearing is set to take place virtually before the Pretoria High Court on Friday, 30 October 2020.
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