The Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice & Dignity Group (PMBEJD) studies the average cost of a list of 44 basic food items purchased most frequently by lower-income households. This monthly report is called the Household Affordability Index.
The cost of the average household food basket increased by R472.78 (11.4%) from R4 137.11 in May 2021 to R4 609.89 in May 2022 which demonstrates the rising cost of living in South Africa.
While the South African government is recognised as having a wide child protection service, the value of the Child Support Grant (CSG) is R480, which falls short of the cost to feed a child a basic nutritious diet (R803,46). The food poverty line (FPL) in South Africa is approximately R624, however, the Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant which provides relief to unemployed individuals in the country, is worth R350.
The Financial and Fiscal Commission(FFC) has recommended that the government relook the Child Support Grant and factor the cost of living into the amount received by beneficiaries.
They called for the creation of partnerships with the private sector to support child support policy intentions, the integration of social grants into existing social development programmes and an in-depth investigation into the current social grant network.
FFC chairperson DR Patience Mbava added that the commission welcomes the expansion of the Employment Tax Incentive (ETI).
The ETI was implemented in January 2014 and incentivises the employment of young job seekers. It reduces the employer's cost of hiring young people through a cost-sharing mechanism with the government, by allowing employers to reduce the amount of Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) they pay while leaving the wage received by the employee unaffected.
Mbava added, “An integrated, well-coordinated skills-to-jobs programme by the relevant Ministers of the Department of Employment and Labour, the Department of Higher Education and Training, and the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities will go a long way to bolster the impact for job creation as opposed to multiple disjointed, isolated efforts”.