Government is working on a way to develop a mechanism for targeted Basic Income Support (BIS) for the most vulnerable, within the country’s economic constraints.
“This will build on the innovation we have introduced through the Social Relief of Distress (SRD) Grant, including linking the data that we have across government to make sure we reach all those who are in need,” said President Cyril Ramaphosa during the State of the Nation Address (SoNA).
In December 2021, the Department of Social Development (DSD) launched the Expert Panel Report on BIS.
A team of experts on BIS recommended that government gradually implement a Basic Income Grant, starting with the existing COVID-19 SRD Grant being institutionalised and forming a platform for an expanded system of BIS.
The expert panel was established as part of an International Labour Organisation initiative, together with the DSD, to examine the feasibility of Basic Income Grant options for South Africa.
R350 SRD Grant
In a bid to mitigate the rising cost of living, President Ramaphosa further announced that government will continue with the R350 SRD Grant.
The R350 SRD Grant currently reaches around 7.8 million people across the country.
Government introduced the SRD Grant in May 2020 as a temporary measure to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable, who were affected by COVID-19-induced lockdown measures.
The President noted that the rising cost of living is deepening poverty and inequality, with millions of South Africans unable to provide for themselves and their families.
“It is the job of the State to provide a minimum level of protection below which no South African will fall. Right now in our country, there are more than 25 million people who receive some form of income support,” said the President.
“We will ensure that existing social grants are increased to cushion the poor against rising inflation.”
In addition, the President highlighted that around two million indigent households receive free basic water, free basic electricity and free solid waste removal.
He noted that around 60 percent of government’s budget is spent on what is known as the social wage, providing various forms of support, basic services and assistance to households and individuals to combat poverty and hunger. – SAnews.gov.za