BUDGET 2024: UNCRC calls on government to protect children as prices soar with inflation

Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana. Picture: Phando Jikelo / Independent Newspapers

Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana. Picture: Phando Jikelo / Independent Newspapers

Published Feb 14, 2024


The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) said on Tuesday that it is urging government to ensure that children’s rights will not be impacted by the rising cost of living and possible cuts to government budgets.

The UNCRC is made up of 18 independent experts and monitors the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, by the countries that have agreed to be bound by the Convention.

SA is one of these countries and must submit regular reports to the committee.

According to the UNCRC, government has to allocate adequate budgetary resources for the implementation of child rights.

The committee also said that government must ensure that the sectors relevant for children’s rights are not affected by inflation, budget cuts or adverse economic conditions.

The UNCRC said that government is currently not doing enough to prioritise children.

“The annual inflation increases to the Child Support Grant (CSG) are too small to prevent the value of the CSG from shrinking, compared to rising food prices. The value of the CSG is now too low to cover the cost of a child’s basic nutritional needs, which was the original purpose of the grant when it was introduced in 1998,” the UNCRC said on a statement released by the University of Cape Town.

The committee noted further that cuts to the health budget has led to the freezing of posts for health workers, and this in turn has compromised access to health care services for children.

“Non-profit organisations (NPOs) that provide child protection services are facing closure because provincial departments of social development are cutting NPO subsidies or withdrawing them completely,” the UNCRC committee said.

Lastly, the committee added that there has been no inflation increases for the past five years to the child subsidies paid by the provincial departments of basic education to NPOs providing early learning programmes for children.

The UNCRC said that government needs to take urgent measures to improve the of children’s rights.

“The principle of the best interests of the child should be appropriately integrated in all decisions that impact on children, including decisions on resource allocation that are made by the economic sector.

“Government must invest in making it possible for children to develop and thrive. Only then, can the cycle of poverty and inequality which continues from generation to generation be broken.”

The UNCRC committee is therefore urging Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana, when he delivers Budget Speech 2024, to protect the rights of children in South Africa, especially given the impact of inflation and the rising price of food and services.


PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has warned this week that financially-constrained consumers have to brace for even higher cost of living as Godongwana looks likely to opt to hike value-added tax (VAT) slightly.

PwC South Africa tax policy leader, Kyle Mandy yesterday said that to raise an additional R15 billion in tax revenues would require either increasing the corporate income tax (CIT) rate by 1.4% to 28.4%, increasing personal income tax (PIT) rates by 0.5% across all tax bands, or increasing the VAT rate by 0.5% to 15.5%.

Mandy said that although Godongwana had not given the details of where the R15bn additional tax revenue would be spent, it was likely to accommodate the extension of the R350 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant just as the government had increased VAT by 1% to 15% to accommodate the commitment to free higher education.