Calls Intensify For R1500 Basic Income Grant To Be Implemented

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Civil society groups calling for a more robust Basic Income Grant to address the pressing economic challenges in South Africa. However, concerns were raised about how these proposed social security measures will be funded.

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South Africa is facing intensifying calls for the implementation of a Basic Income Grant (BIG). These calls for the BIG stem from their belief that the Social Relief of Distress (SRD) Grant falls short of providing adequate support to the country’s most vulnerable citizens. 

Lindi Mkhumbane from Cry of The Xcluded proposes BIG with a value of R1500 to address the pressing economic challenges facing many of the country’s most vulnerable. 

Cry for The Xcluded along with civic movements and trade unions, says their proposal is based on a combination of factors, including the Upper-Bound Food Poverty Line and research indicating the costs associated with seeking employment. 

we want the basic income Grant of R1,500 and was saying that if government continues with austerity measures this government is literally killing the working class and poor 

The upper-bound poverty line refers to the food poverty line plus the average amount derived from non-food items of households whose food expenditure is equal to the food poverty line.

All those considerations have to be made that a person is to live, eat, look for employment, create employment [and] we thought then that R1,500 could be a start. 

Mkhumbane says that the SRD Grant, currently available to support unemployed adults, is not equivalent to a Basic Income Grant and that a more substantial financial commitment is needed. 

They are calling for the government to consider implementing text measures within the country, including revising and eliminating deductions for medical aid taxes, recouping corporate income taxes, and addressing illicit financial flows that syphon off billions of rands from the country. 

Additionally, they call for measures like beneficiation to retain valuable minerals within the country, creating employment and increasing the tax base.

all these minerals…leave the country and go and create better employment somewhere else we're calling again also for beneficiation and to have those minerals stay in the country and create jobs and further increase the tax base

Mkhumbane adds that while social security is a government responsibility, it is essential for the wealthy to contribute significantly to mitigate economic inequality.

If you look at how our economy is structured in South Africa, the rich need to play their part we have over 40,000 millionaires in dollar terms in South Africa whereas at the same time, we have people that go to bed without food, yes, [social security] it is a government responsibility but collectively we need to be honest and say where does the money in the country lie 

They argue that such a grant, funded through various measures, including wealth taxes and curbing illicit financial flows, is necessary to counteract economic inequality and provide a safety net for the country's most vulnerable citizens.

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