Cape Town - The Department of Social Development has indicated that the R350 grant for the unemployed could be extended after April next year.
This would be while the department is working on a comprehensive social security plan for the roll-out of the basic income grant in the next two to three years.
Deputy Director-General for comprehensive social security in the department Brenda Sibeko said they were currently busy with quantifying the Basic Income Grant.
But the process for the implementation of the Basic Income Grant was a work in progress as there was technical work.
Sibeko said while they were working on this the government would have to plug the hole by extending the R350 grant when it comes to an end early next year.
Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana said in his budget speech this year the R350 grant would be extended until the end of March.
Sibeko said other than the technical work on the basic income grant the special Covid-19 grant of R350 should be extended until a new law was in place.
She also said it would put more financial strain on their budget if they increased the grant from R350 to R624 as suggested by Cosatu and other organisations.
She said this would be more than double than what is available.
Currently, the government is spending R44 billion and more than 10 million are on it.
Sibeko said there was work on the basic income grant after President Cyril Ramaphosa asked for it.
“In order for us to have the basic income grant, a more long-term solution around income support is in place. What we are busy doing is we are working with the National Treasury and the Presidency. In fact, the work is done under the directive of the president that there needs to be a social compact that is developed in order for us to come to a solution around what to do beyond the R350 grant,” said Sibeko.
“In that work the department of social development is quite key in providing some of the technical work that needs to inform the modality of what this income support is going to look like beyond this R350 grant. Our expectation is that, at present what we are doing, from last year we published some work. We had appointed some technical experts to quantify for us what the cost might be of the basic income support and what the sources of funding might be,” she said.
She said they were also not only looking at the Basic Income Grant but labour market interventions of getting more people employed.
She said the issue of labour market interventions would be key as well.
Acting Director-General in the department Linton Mchunu said the R350 grant should be extended.
He said it was important to know what will happen next year when the grant expires.
He added that the R350 grant should be the stepping stone for the implementation of the basic income grant in the future.