Currently, in South Africa, the child support grant provided by the government stands at R460. When compared to the adjusted national poverty line which currently stands at R634, the child grant is simply not enough.
Statistics South Africa estimate that it costs R634 per month for a person to buy the minimum amount of food needed to survive daily. This presents a R174 difference between what government provides the public with in terms of the child support grant and what it actually cost to provide a child with a nutritional diet.
What is important to also note about the child support grant is that it is not just used to support the child. Many families rely on these grants to support their whole families.
Julie Smith from the Economic Justice and Dignity Group says that the government child support grant is between 25% and 38% less than what is needed to meet a child’s nutritional needs.
Smith said, “basically what we're doing is that we're condemning another generation of our children to inequality, we are condemning them to be stunted cognitively and physically and ultimately what it means is that our future outcomes of education and health of economic possibilities and certainly social order is severely compromised”.
She says that mothers are sacrificing their own nutrition to ensure that their kids get what they need. She explains that there while mothers would want the grant amount to increase, it’s up to the government to make the changes.
“Government thus far has shown that it's not interested in increasing the charts for grants so that our children can eat properly and that mothers can look after their kids properly,” said Smith.