About 100 people from a number of civil society groups marched from KwaLanga to Kariega Town Hall, carrying empty pots, blowing whistles and singing protest songs as Minister of Finance Enoch Godongwana delivered his 2023 national budget speech on Wednesday afternoon. The marchers were demanding that the R350 Social Relief of Distress grant be made a permanent Basic Income Grant of R1,500 for all unemployed people. In his budget speech Godongwana told the nation that the R350 SRD grant will be extended until March 2024.
“R350 is an insult. It is even less than the lunch of a minister’s son a day. Enough is enough,” march leader Mgcini Mejane said to loud cheers from the protesters gathered outside the Kariega Town Hall.
Mejane said the budget “must speak to us”.
The march was jointly organised by civic movements including Makukhanye Rural Development, Cry of the Xcluded, and farm workers’ representatives from the Sundays River Municipality.
Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor Retief Odendaal received the memorandum. He said the City was doing its best to avoid poor people becoming poorer.
“Over the last three years, we have lost R900 million which could not be spent. This City is number one in the country for one thing, that is irregular expenditure,” the mayor said.