Youth Is The Most Hard Hit By Income Poverty In South Africa


A recently launched panel report has revealed that a triple challenge (of poverty, unemployment and inequality) persists in the vulnerable population of South Africa. Although the youth is the most hard by this, the government seeks to design long-term solutions.




The emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic pandemic has negatively impacted ordinary lives, and a number of sectors on a large scale.

Acting Director-General of the Department of Social Development (DSD), Linton Mchunu said the pandemic and consequent lock-down exacerbated the loss of household income and increased hunger, resulting in the working poor suffering the deepest job losses.

With the rise in unemployment statistics, together with the increased demand for the Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant, it is evident that there is a gap in the provision of social protection for the working age group of 18 to 59 years.

In a statement, the department has also shared:

This has necessitated the department to conduct studies to inform a proposal to extend social assistance for this vulnerable group.

The department has launched the Expert Panel Report on Basic Income Support, which affirms that income poverty in South Africa is extremely pervasive. 

Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu said the panel report will be used to design policies and programmes that respond to the needs of the majority of the people in society.

The government takes pride in the progress that it has made with the progressive realization of the right to social security, including children, the elderly and persons with disabilities.

However, Mchunu has suggested that at present, the country lacks an institutional framework that can articulate employment-related social protection benefits with labour activation at the level of the individual and this is partly due to the absence of a social security benefit for people of working age unless they are disabled.

Among other things, the department is looking at a possibility of linking grant recipients to opportunities.

The South African Social Security Agency received 11.4 million applications and under 35s accounted for 60% of the SRD grant applications, which correlates to the unemployment rate amongst youth being the highest.





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