Call for child support grant to go up by R10
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Cape Town - The Children’s Institute has called on Parliament to use its influence to allocate R1 billion to the social grants mid-terms budget in October.
This R1bn would ensure that the Child Support Grant (CSG) of R460 a month could be increased by a further R10 in October (as has happened for the past 5 years) and Sassa could start providing a larger CSG for orphans in the care of relatives.
The institute made a submission to Parliament’s standing committee on appropriations, to use its influence to persuade the National Treasury two months ago.
“At the time we made the submission, it was clear that Parliament would not use its power to amend the austere budget that the National Treasury had tabled in February 2021. This budget reduced the social grants budget over the MTEF (Medium=Term Expenditure Framework) by R36 billion, taking away income from the poorest people in South Africa, including millions of hungry and malnourished children,” said senior researcher at the Children’s Institute Paula Proudlock.
However, the institute called on Parliament to put political pressure on National Treasury to at least give back R1bn of the R36bn it had taken away.
She said they had made it clear that that was the least that they should do to maintain the status quo and ensure that the increase to the CSG kept pace with food price inflation.
“Furthermore, with adult deaths increasing due to Covid-19, social workers working at reduced capacity and access to the Foster Child Grant declining at a rapid rate, it was urgent that the higher CSG for orphans in the care of relatives should be implemented and not held back any longer.
“Whether National Treasury will grant this small concession of R1 million for children or even better, restore the whole R36 billion for all grant recipients remains to be seen in October.”
Proudlock said that beyond giving back the R36bn, the institute was calling on the Cabinet to increase the CSG to the food poverty line, reinstate the Covid-19 R500 Caregiver Grant and the Covid-19 R350 grant.
“All of these reforms can happen at the push of a button – they do not need any new infrastructure or systems. In the wake of the destruction of food supply systems in two of SA’s provinces, ensuring that children and their families have food should be the government's first priority,” said Proudluck.
The National Department of Social Development was contacted for comment . It responded that Minister Lindiwe Zulu was on record expressing concern that the child support grant was below the food poverty line on various platforms.
Western Cape commissioner for children, Christina Nomdo, said: “Children and families who live in impoverished circumstances are going through tougher times due to the pandemic. The child support grant is not sufficient to cover the basic needs of children. The grant needs to be increased, so families can afford to feed themselves.”