Last week then-Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba announced that the child support grant would increase from R380 to R400 on 1 April and to R410 on 1 October. Gigaba also announced that VAT will increase from 14% to 15%.
DA Shadow Minister for Social Development, Bridget Masango, in a bid to test whether the R410 child support grant is enough to provide basic nutritional foods for impoverished children, went shopping in Tembisa.
This is what they managed to buy with R410:
5kg maize meal
2 packets of soup
2.5kg cake flour
2l cooking oil
2 cans pilchards
2 of mixed vegetables
1kg brown beans
The party says the above items are not enough to feed a child for a whole month and excludes a number of basic necessities.
The DA's says the VAT increase is "anti-poor" and that "Gigaba’s absurd argument that the vulnerable would be protected through 'zero-rating basic food items and above average increases in grants' proves that he has no idea how poor people in our country struggle each and every day just to put food on the table."
"According to the Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action (PASCA) basket, poor mothers tend to buy 38 items of food which include more Vatable goods than zero-rated foods. This essentially means that the above-inflation grants increases to supposedly ‘combat’ the VAT increase, is just not enough," the opposition party said.
Many poor families use the grant not only to buy food but also to pay for school necessities and transport for children.
The party has called for urgent intervention in the country's social services and decisive leadership from Susan Shabangu, the new Minister of Social Development to resolve confusion around the payment of social grants.
"Instead of politicking with the livelihoods of the 17 million poor South Africans who depend on social grants every month, the DA urges the Minister to make the vulnerable the first priority of government," the party said.