R350 SRD Grant Rapid Assessment: Final Report

R350 SRD Grant Rapid Assessment: Final Report


Introduction and Background

South Africa went into a nation-wide lockdown from 26 March 2020, which was extended through a risk-adjusted approach ranging from Alert Level 5 to Alert Level 1. The loss of jobs and income for millions of South Africans living in poverty and without income protection saw the announcement and implementation of the Special COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant for an initial period of 6 months. This was further extended by additional months to end in April 2021.

The criteria for the grant was: South African citizens, permanent residents or refugees registered with Home Affairs; resident within the borders of the Republic of South Africa; above the age of 18; unemployed; not receiving any income; not receiving any social grant; not receiving any unemployment insurance benefit (UIF) and does not qualify to receive UIF ; not receiving a stipend from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme(NSFAS); not receiving any other government COVID-19 response support; and not a resident in a government funded or subsidised institution.

The Department of Social Development (DSD) and the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) planned and designed online digital technology systems and platforms for the application, assessment, verification and payment of the grant. During the rollout of the grant, the aforementioned institutions commissioned a Rapid Assessment of the Implementation and Utilisation of the Special COVID-19 SRD Grant.

The Rapid Assessment triangulated information gathered through the adoption of a mixed method approach. This included the online survey and in-depth interviews with key informants and focus groups. The triangulation process also made use of insights from the literature reviewed. The design of the rapid assessment comprised of four (4) parts namely: (i) analysis of the information and data on all applicants for the grant.

This information and data were collected by SASSA through the application and verification process; (ii) quantitative research based on a stratified, representative sample of the grant applicants. An online survey (online self-administered questionnaires) on utilisation and implementation was administered; (iii) qualitative research – undertaking in-depth interviews with key informants and focus group discussions with those who qualify but did not apply.

This required the interviewees to first identify the individuals; (iv) qualitative research – interviewing key informants involved in the design of the systems used by SASSA in the implementation of the Special COVID-19 SRD grant application, verification and payment process.