On 28 January 2021, SERI’s Alana Potter joined a press conference for the #PayTheGrants Campaign calling for the extension and increase of the COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) Grants to at least R585-00 in line with the food poverty line. The press conference was hosted by Black Sash, C19 People’s Coalition Cash Transfers Working Group and the Institute of Economic Justice (IEJ). Potter spoke alongside affected grant claimants, Zwelinzima Vavi, Advocate Thuli Madonsela, and social justice activists.
The #PayTheGrants Campaign joint statement calls for:
In SERI’s statement, Alana spoke, in support of the joint statement, about the critical importance of ensuring that there is a continuation and increase of unconditional cash transfers to people as a bridge to a basic income grant. Given the devastating impact the pandemic has had the livelihoods of informal and precarious workers, Alana argued that the cash grant was vital for ensuring that people do not go hungry because they would ensure that local markets and informal traders can start trading again.
The informal sector is critical in generating livelihoods, providing food security, and for reducing poverty. Informal traders, for example, do not only make food accessible, but they also maximise economic and ownership opportunities, creating multiplier effects into local communities they are part of.
Alana noted that civil society and a range of CSOs have mobilised to generate valuable evidence advocating for strengthening the informal economy by: