South African government ordered to pay refugees R350 social grant

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The Pretoria High Court has ordered that the R350 Covid-19 South African Social Security Agency social relief of distress grant be extended to asylum-seekers as well as special permit-holders.

Judge Selby Baqwa made the order after hearing legal argument on Thursday, reports eNCA.

The court declared directions issued by Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu unconstitutional and unlawful in as far as it had excluded asylum-seekers, refugees and special permit-holders from accessing the grant.

The R350 grant will now include asylum-seekers and special permit-holders from Lesotho, Angola and Zimbabwe.

MSN Money said the minister has been given five days to quantify the costs of extending the grant and another five days to publish amended regulations.

Baqwa said eligible asylum-seekers and special permit-holders whose applications for the Covid-19 SRD grant are approved will be entitled to payment of the grant as if their grants had been approved on 18 June.

In a statement issued by SASSA on Thursday, 18 June, spokesperson Paseka Letsatsi admitted they had been inundated with complaints about unsuccessful applications. The statement was issued around the same time as the court order.

2.8 million applications for the social relief grant have been rejected. Users on Twitter have complained but SASSA said they have other forms of income.

The Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town, a non-governmental organisation advocating and assisting asylum-seekers, migrants and refugees, asked the court in May to compel the government to extend the grant to asylum-seekers and special permit -holders as well.

The centre had received around 1 400 calls requesting food and financial assistance with rent and electrici

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