File photo: David Ritchie

Cape Town - Social grant recipients outnumber people with jobs. Research by the South African Institute of Race Relations compared employment data with the number of people who receive social grants. The figures were provided by the South African Social Security Agency.

In 2012, for every 100 people on social welfare, just 90 people were employed - this had remained constant since 2010.

The number of South Africans on social grants had increased by more than four times in the last decade, while the number of employed people had remained almost constant.

In 2001, for every 100 people who were receiving social grants, 330 people had jobs.

With more than 16 million social grant beneficiaries in 2013/14, social grant expenditure was expected to rise to about R113 billion this financial year, alleviating poverty for millions, said an institute press release.

“The highest proportions will be spent on old-age pension and child support grant transfers, at 39 percent and 37 percent respectively.

“The National Development Plan (NDP) estimates that there are approximately 2.1 million children who are eligible for the child support grant but are not receiving it. If all eligible children received this grant, it would push social grant expenditure up by more than half a billion rand,” read the release.

It continued that despite lifting households out of poverty, the social grant system was so extensive - in a society where unemployment had doubled since 1994 - it put strain on the country’s tax base.

Lerato Moloi, acting head of research at the institute, said: “If this trend continues, South Africa’s tax base will not grow fast enough to keep supporting the millions of vulnerable individuals who rely on monthly cash transfers from the state.”

In the institute’s most recent Fact Facts publication, Moloi said that while the state continued to push money into social services, particularly social grants, the budget deficit continued to grow.

“Sadly, the money invested in free schooling does not seem to be improving the quality of education, which would produce skilled employees and in turn, contribute positively to the economy.”

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, in his Budget speech earlier this year, said that spending on social assistance would reach R120bn next year.

“Social spending, however, is not a substitute for job creation.”

“One of our most pressing development challenges is to expand work opportunities for young people. “

Value of social grants per month, 2013/14:

Old-age pension: R1 260

War veterans: R1 280

Disability: R1 260

Foster care: R800

Care dependency: R1 260

Child support: R290

Grant-in-aid: R290

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Cape Times