The president of South Africa has endorsed the implementation of a Basic Income Grant (BIG) as time runs out for the R350 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant.
President Cyril Ramaphosa said the country needed a BIG during the African National Congress’ (ANC) January 8 statement.
Ramaphosa said, “The Social Relief of Distress Grant has provided vital support for the unemployed during the pandemic, reaching 9.5 million people and lifting 5 million above the food poverty line”.
He explained that this demonstrated the clear need to support unemployed and poor South Africans.
March 2022 is scheduled to be the last month in which the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) will process the R350 SRD grant. More than ten million people benefit from the SRD grant.
If the government does not choose to extend the SRD grant, people between the ages of 18 and 59-years old will receive no financial support from the government.
The Department of Social Development commissioned research where a panel of experts recommended the implementation of a Basic Income Grant.
Director for Centre for Economic Development and Transformation Duma Gqubule argues that the question should be around whether South Africa can afford not to implement the BIG.
This as Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana declared that responding to challenges facing many South Africans must be done with the aim to achieve high and sustainable levels of economic growth.
Gqubule says the focus should be around how much stimulus a BIG or support grant would provide the economy.
He said, “the people do not keep the money under the mattress. they spend it in communities in Soweto in Khayelitsha and Mdantsane and Tembisa so it will have a multiplier effect on local economies”.
Finance Minister Godongwana will present his budget speech in February 2022.