South Africa: Basic Income Grant On the Table for South Africa's Unemployed Poor

(file photo).

As South Africa weathers the storm of increased hunger, poverty and unemployment during the pandemic, the government has announced its intention to introduce a Basic Income Grant for unemployed non-grant recipients between the ages of 18 and 59.

The government may be introducing a Basic Income Grant (BIG), according to Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu.

Speaking during a government social cluster briefing on Monday 13 July, Zulu said historic and emergent factors, in particular the Covid-19 pandemic, had spurred discussions on how the poor will continue accessing support once the R350 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant is discontinued.

"Since we already have categorical grants for children, older persons and persons with disabilities, the BIG will be an income support grant for the population aged 18 to 59," said Zulu.

The SRD grant is being paid out until the end of October, after which the government is considering implementing the Basic Income Grant.

But the BIG discussion is nothing new.

Backed by civil society, policy proposals have been made since 2000 to introduce a targeted or universal basic income for unemployed individuals without financial support.

On Wednesday, 6 July, the matter was discussed before the Social Development...

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