'Make basic income grant at least R1,227 a month': Black Sash

17 July 2020 - 11:52 By Nomahlubi Jordaan
The Black Sash says social development minister Lindiwe Zulu should consider a grant of R1,227 a month, which is the minimum needed for basic nutrition and essentials.
The Black Sash says social development minister Lindiwe Zulu should consider a grant of R1,227 a month, which is the minimum needed for basic nutrition and essentials.
Image: Trevor Samson

The basic income grant proposed by the government for unemployed people between the ages of 18-59 will be a “significant” safety net, the Black Sash says.  

Social development minister Lindiwe Zulu last week said the basic income grant (BIG) was being considered in view of the mandate of the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa), as well as that of the National Development Agency (NDA) for the “eradication of poverty and its causes by granting funds to civil society organisations for the purposes of carrying out projects or programmes aimed at meeting development needs of poor communities”.

“While the Covid-19 lockdown is necessary, it has led to more job losses and retrenchments. It will take years for our economy to remedy and recover from this. A Basic Income Support grant for those between 18 and 59 who have little to no income will be a significant safety net,” said Black Sash national advocacy manager Hoodah Abrahams-Fayker.

She, however, said the organisation had not seen the department’s proposal for basic income support.

“The Black Sash feels that minister Zulu’s statement did not reveal a coherent plan or budget for how and when basic income support will be implemented and how much the value of this grant will be. The minister’s response lacked detail and referred to the policy as 'back on the table' and that it is only being 'considered',” said Abrahams-Fayker. 

She said the organisation had been urging the government to roll out a basic income grant for almost 20 years.

The Black Sash has made the following recommendations to the social development minister:

  • The Covid-19 social relief of distress grant must be made permanent and converted to basic income support for those aged 18-59 with little to no income 
  • Extend the social assistance framework to include those who are unemployed and who earn less than R52,800 annually (R4,400 a month).
  • The value of the grant ought to be at least R1,227, to match the upper-bound poverty line and the minimum amount needed for basic nutrition and essential goods.

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