Organisations call for child support grant to increase by R10
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Pretoria - The children’s Institute and the Centre for Child Law have called on Parliament to address South Africa’s crisis of child malnutrition and increase the child grant by R10 during October’s Medium Term Budget.
The child watchdog organisations recently made submissions to the government on the impact of the national Budget on children and asked that the child care grant urgently be increased.
This, they said, was needed to address child malnutrition and food insecurity. In their submissions to the Standing Committee on Appropriations, Paula Proudlock and Zita Hansungule said the 2021 budget allocated a R10 increase, resulting in an increase below the food price inflation.
As a result, children will get less nutrition this year unless something is done. They said the least that could be done was a small increase of R10 to the child support grant during the October Medium Term Budget.
In their submissions they said the Constitution gave strong protection of children’s rights.
“We call on Parliament to protect the poorest and most vulnerable in our society from the erosion of the social grants that sustain them, especially in times of crisis.”
They added that Parliament could correct the regressive steps for children in the 2021/22 budget by ensuring that just a little more than R1 billion was allocated in the October Medium Term Budget, made up of R798 million to increase the grant to R470 a month as from October 1.
In light of the pressing issue of child poverty and malnutrition and the negative long-term impact these have on the economy and the country as a whole, their submission urged Parliament to review several decisions by the National Treasury.
These include the decision to limit the child support grant increase to R10, with no further increase in the 2021/22 financial year, allowing it to fall behind food inflation.
They are also calling for a review of the decision to reduce the budget for the foster child grants while not budgeting for the parallel introduction of a child support grant top-up for orphans living with relatives, as planned in terms of the required comprehensive legal solution to the foster care crisis.
According to the two organisations, these decisions are punitive to children and those who care for them, and regressive.
They called on Parliament to address this as a matter of urgency and asked that the Treasury allocate an additional R1bn to the Child Support Grant budget for the second half of the 2021/22 financial year.
South Africa has a huge burden of child malnutrition, which not only infringes on children’s well-being
and their right to survival and development, but perpetuates the intergenerational cycle of poverty and inequality.
“The below-food price inflation increase to the child support grant is likely to increase child malnutrition.
“Instead, the budget could provide for a second R10 increase to the child support grant in October in line with the practice over the past eight years of splitting the increase into two R10 tranches – one in April and the second in October.”
The child watchdog organisations also said in their submission that it was important that the budget is allocated for a top-up to the child-care grants for orphaned children living with relatives.
They said it was especially untenable in these difficult times that the poorest and most vulnerable children should have to foot the bill for budget reallocations by making grant sacrifices.