Black Sash Calls For Basic Income Grant Implementation

Advocacy group the Black Sash has called on the South African government to advance with the implementation of the proposed basic income grant as soon as possible. This is so that the grant can help those who have become impoverished due to the Covid-19 lockdown. 

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This call by the Black Sash to fast track the implementation of the basic income grant comes after the Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu called for the implementation of the basic income grant in the National Assembly a week ago. 

Black Sash advocacy manager Esley Hooder said:

“The Black Sash supports Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu’s call for the implementation of the basic income grant. There is overwhelming support across political and ideological lines for a basic income grant now.”

The basic income grant has been under discussion since it was first brought forward approximately 20 years ago following the Taylor Committee Report in 2002 and the Black Sash says that is must be implemented as soon as possible so as to combat unemployment and poverty. 

Currently South Africa's unemployment levels are considerably worse due to effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. More than 11 million citizens in the country are currently without jobs.

"There is an urgent call for the basic income grant, it has been debated in Parliament as well and the Social Development Department confirmed that the grant would be a solution to alleviate poverty."-Black Sash National advocacy manager, Hoodah Abrahams-Fayker.

 Black Sash National advocacy manager, Hoodah Abrahams-Fayke spoke to Radio 702 saying that it is an issue of political will by the government to ensure that the basic income grant is implemented as soon as possible. 

The South African government is currently experiencing challenges with its fiscal position and this could make it difficult to implement the basic income grant. The Business Day says that if we assume more than 10 million people qualifies for this basic income grant, Treasury would have to find an additional R42 billion rand to implement this. 

Abrahams-Fayker says that an implementation plan needs to be put in place. 

"Political will is key. It is not a question of whether we can afford it but whether we can afford not to," said Abrahams-Fayker. 

Black Sash is calling for the grant to be made available to those aged 18 to 59 years who are unemployment and are prepared to work but are unable to because there are no jobs available. 

They also say that parents receiving social grants on behalf of their children must qualify for the basic income grant.

“There is overwhelming support, across political and ideological lines, for a basic income Grant now. The Black Sash supports the request for the Finance Minister Tito Mboweni to find the necessary resources to finance a Basic Income Grant for those aged 18 to 59 years with no to little income."-Black Sash National advocacy manager, Hoodah Abrahams-Fayker.

She says that the value of the grant must match the Upper-Bound Poverty Line  (currently at R1 268) so that maximum benefits can be realised. 

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