The department of Social Development is considering introducing a universal basic income grant for unemployed South Africans. According to the Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu, the most vulnerable groups of our population are those between 18 and 24 and between 50 and 59.
“Since we already have categorical grants for children, older persons and persons with disabilities, the BIG will be an income support grant for the population aged 18 to 59, Zulu said the historic and emergent factors, particularly the Covid-19 pandemic, demand that The Basic Income (BIG) be introduced within SA’s fiscal capabilities.”
Zulu said discussions for the introduction of the grant had been put back on the table as a measure to address poverty and hunger in the country.“BIG was being considered in view of the mandate of the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa), as well as that of the National Development Agency (NDA) for the eradication of poverty and its causes by granting funds to civil society organisations for the purposes of carrying out projects or programmes aimed at meeting development needs of poor communities,” noted Zulu.
The Minister said they were, therefore, looking at alternative ways to phase it in overtime and considering the amount that should be provided, the funding options, the potential economic impact and sustainability considerations. She said the matter came up in the social development portfolio committee. During those discussions, most political parties supported the idea.
“When all is said and done, we are looking for options to help our people so that the poverty and the hunger that we see every day is eradicated completely from South Africa. I don’t think people will see the basic income grant itself [as] adequate, but it’s leverage and something for them to use to go looking for other opportunities,” said Zulu.