27776593 - studio shot of a shopping basket full of food including fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, pizza and dairy products. isolated on a white background.
The first batch of South Africa’s special Covid-19 grants for unemployed people receiving no other state support are due to start landing very soon – and retailers are standing ready.

Each eligible person is due to receive R350 per month for up to six months, in payments that could total well over a billion rand per month judging by initial application numbers.

The state hopes that money will be spent on essentials, and the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) has been working on plans to pay out in restricted vouchers rather than cash to ensure just that, though it is not yet ready to do so.
This week retailer Game published its list of bundled specials targeted directly at the R350 grant recipients, in packs worth R250, R500, and R750 each for different-sized family groups.

Its bundles were put together in part by drawing from data on what has been selling of late, Game said.

At R250 the entry-level Game bundle, its “essentials starter pack”, offers a fairly realistic idea of what a single grant payment could buy after making provision for fresh vegetables, transport, the cost of cooking, and other basic needs.

If you shop the aggressive single-items specials of other retailers hard enough (without spending extra money on transport between stores to do so) you can save another R40, Business Insider South Africa’s price comparison shows.

This is the bundle Game is selling for R250, targeting Covid-19 grant recipients, and the best price we could find for each item elsewhere:
  • 1 litre long-life milk: R12.99 from Checkers and Pick n Pay
  • 2kg rice: R19.99 from Woolworths
  • 1kg brown sugar: R18.49 from Checkers
  • 2.5kg maize meal: R20.99 from Checkers
  • 500g salt (iodated): R6.79 from Pick n Pay
  • 750ml sunflower oil: R18.49 from Pick n Pay
  • 4x70g instant noodles: R8 from Checkers (for 4x85g packs)
  • 410g baked beans in tomato sauce: R4.99 from Shoprite
  • 215g pilchards in tomato sauce: R13.99 from Checkers and Shoprite
  • 52 teabags: R16.99 from Pick n Pay
  • 250g Ricoffy drink: R29.99 from Shoprite
  • 150g soap bar: R8.99 from Checkers and Pick n Pay
  • 100ml toothpaste: R9.99 from Checkers
  • 4 toilet rolls (1-ply): R19.96 from Checkers
The same basket, shopping the current specials and best prices across other stores, would come to R210.64.

If a grant recipient were in a position to spend the full remainder of the R350 grant only on food, that would buy roughly a 5kg pack of individually quick frozen (IQF) chicken, or one bunch of spinach for every second day.