Government Still In Talks About Basic Income Grant

Following the recent looting unrest in parts of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and Gauteng , numbers calling for the government to introduce a Basic Income Grant are growing.

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In one of his late July statements, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the government is in talks to introduce a Basic Income Grant (BIG) for the unemployed.

The grant would alleviate pressure on government to create jobs and also give dignity back to unemployed citizens.

The Minister in charge of the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), Lindiwe Zulu, is reported to have said the R350 social relief of distress grant is the path to the basic income grant.

Zulu also added that the recent crisis in parts of KZN and Gauteng is a result of more people being unemployed and becoming violent as a result.

The Institute for Development Studies at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), Prof. Stephen Devereux says the BIG should be implemented on a permanent basis for all citizens.

Th basic income grant targets filling the gaps in the social relations system. In fact, I’m not sure if South Africa has what it needs right now, as it is already paying out quite a number of other related grants.

Devereux says the biggest income gap was also worsened by the lockdown where many of the people lost their means of income. For those who have lost their jobs and are now unemployed, the BIG will make sense. He added that the social distress grant of R350 is not enough but it’s a great start.

The Professor hopes that government will not take away the R350 grant for the unemployed in March next year and continued to say that government needs to introduce programmes such as these in order to deal with the crisis of unemployment.

Devereux says every citizen has a right to social security according to the constitution of South Africa when faced with difficulties beyond themselves.

With the calls to introduce the BIG mounting, even experts themselves still fail to articulate the source of the income without troubling the taxpayers even further.

Government however hasn’t given much detail about the grant as the President said discussions are still ongoing.

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