Social grant beneficiaries from villages near Mqanduli in the Eastern Cape flock to Mqanduli town to access their grants.
Social grant beneficiaries from villages near Mqanduli in the Eastern Cape flock to Mqanduli town to access their grants.
Image: Lulamile Feni

Almost 30% of SA households depended on grants from the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) for their main source of income in 2020 as the Covid-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on people’s lives and the economy.

Stats SA’s general household survey 2020 report, released on Thursday, found that 28.8% of households reported the grants as their main source of income. These payments remain the second-most important source of income in the country.

The grants are a vital safety net, especially in the Eastern Cape and Limpopo, the country’s two poorest provinces. In the Eastern Cape, 63.6% of households received grants. The figure in Limpopo was 69.3%.

Solly Molayi, Stats SA chief director for social statistics, said the percentage of people accessing grants increased to 34.9% in 2020 after the introduction of R350 Social Relief of Distress Grant (SRD) in the wake of Covid-19.

“The percentage of households that received at least one grant increased to 52.4%,” Molayi added.

Excluding SRDs, the number of people accessing grants would have been 30.7%, down from 34.9% in 2019.

Molayi said the percentage of households connected to the national electricity grid increased to 90% in 2020 from 76.7% in 2002, as reliance on wood, coal and paraffin for cooking and heating declined.

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