About 60% of applicants for the R350-a-month Social Relief of Distress (SRD)
grant are young, according to the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA). Also, approximately 5% of all SRD grant applicants hold tertiary
The number of SRD grant youth applicants “correlates well” with the
country’s current youth unemployment rates, says Andrew Donaldson, Senior Research
Associate at the Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit (SALDRU).
According to the Quarterly
Labour Force Survey (QLFS), for the first quarter of 2022, the unemployment
rate was 64% for those aged 15-24 and 42% for those aged 25-34 years. The
current official national rate stands at 35%.
Asked what the possible impact might be of giving the SRD grant to young
people in terms of employment opportunities, Donaldson said, “It is likely that
the SRD will assist some people in meeting the costs of searching for work, in
addition to making a modest contribution to living expenses … But this doesn’t
lead to more work opportunities, so the search for work remains a source of
frustration and anger even for grant recipients.”
conducted by the advocacy campaign Youth
Capital and Open
Dialogue on the costs of job-seeking found that more
than 80% of unemployed young people in South Africa have to choose between
looking for work and buying food.
The study, built on the findings of the 2019 Siyakha
Youth Assets Study of youth unemployment, found that looking for work could
cost a young South African on average R938 a month, for transport, data or
internet usage, printing, certification, copying, postage, scanning, as well as
application fees or agency fees.
According to SASSA spokesperson Paseka Letsatsi, 930 000 SRD applications
were received in July from people under 20; more than 2 226 000 from people
aged 20-24; and 3.9 million from people aged 25 to 35 years old.
SASSA received the highest number of applications for people aged 20 to 35
years from KwaZulu-Natal at 1 482 968. This was followed by Gauteng
(1 187 349), Limpopo (861 317), the Eastern Cape (784 124) and Mpumalanga (577 400).
Letsatsi said by 26 July, the agency had received more than 600 000
applications from individuals with tertiary-level education (of all ages).
The agency says approximately 5.2 million SRD
grant applications were approved, as of 19 July 2022, and more than 4 million
of those people have received payment.