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The Importance of A Basic Income Grant For South Africans

Jun 22, 2022

Written by Umamah Bakharia 

The introduction of a basic income grant has gathered mixed reviews with some believing it is needed as unemployment and poverty have risen significantly.

There is a view within the ANC that the idea of a basic income grant is something positive for voters.

 

 

A panel of experts, chaired by Professor Alex van den Heever of Wits University, recently said in a report that the R350 monthly social relief of distress grant could be the basis of an extensive basic income support system.

Speaking to Radio Islam, Prof Van den Heever says the grant fills the gap in the social system framework for people between the ages of 18-59.

“Its a necessary program because we always going to be faced with a large group of people [with] income poverty in South Africa and this essentially establishes an ‘income floor’ which nobody will fall below,” says Prof van der Heever.

However, he argues that the social relief grant amount is not high enough yet but it is a start to the income framework in South Africa.

According to Prof van der Heever, the grant costs the South African government R44-billion, which he says the allocation is just the distribution of income in the country.

“It’s not harming the economy in any way, it’s changing a structure of demand in the economy,” he says. Adding that, “at the levels that its allocated, it doesn’t create a dependency and its unlikely to do so.”

He reiterates that the grant is leaving society better off for the same amount that they are spending.

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