Govt ‘continuing its quest’ for basic income grant: Lindiwe Zulu
Social development minister Lindiwe Zulu says her department is pushing ahead with its bid to have the country pay a basic income grant to the unemployed.
Zulu was speaking during a question-and-answer session at the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on Tuesday.
The DA’s Delmaine Christians had asked Zulu about the possibilities of an extension of the R350 social relief of distress grant paid to unemployed South Africans.
The grant started last year when the country was forced into a hard lockdown as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“SA is still battling the consequences of Covid-19 and it seems things are set to become worse. Many people, young and old, do not have an income and the past few months we have seen people standing in line for hours for that R350 grant.
“A high percentage of our youth are unemployed and continue to have no income, and that is also set to increase,” said Christians.
She asked Zulu to update the NCOP on whether government will continue with the R350 grant.
Zulu thanked members of the NCOP who had given her department support regarding the basic income grant.
“We are continuing with our quest towards ensuring that ultimately this is adopted, but at the same time we are very conscious about the financial challenges and impact thereof on the fiscus.
“As the department of social development we are saying it would be better for our government, our people, to support those who are finding themselves at the lowest end of development and unemployed,” said Zulu.
She said this extended to many who are struggling to find jobs despite their efforts.
“The discussion is still on. We have not abandoned it and we have no intention of abandoning it. I think we have got the greater support.
“We do have support among government itself, because there is full appreciation and understanding that when too many people go home hungry, when too many people have absolutely nothing, it is not in the good of our country, neither is it in the interest of peace, security and stability,” said Zulu.
The basic income grant became a serious point of discussion this year after news broke of talks in government about making the R350 grant permanent.