Children on social grants up 13-fold

2012-01-18 13:58
Johannesburg - The number of children receiving social grants has increased 13-fold since 2001, a survey revealed on Wednesday.

Beneficiaries had risen from 800 476 in 2001 to 10 387 238 in 2011, according to the study to be published next week by the SA Institute of Race Relations.

This number would increase by another million by 2013, said researcher Lerato Moloi.

Children on the child support grant accounted for 70% of all people on social welfare. They received R260 a month.

In February 2011, the government announced the extension of the child support grant to all children up to the age of 18 years.

Old-age pensions

Moloi said the overall social grant beneficiaries had increased from about R3.5m to R15m.

Old-age pension beneficiaries had increased by only 40% in the same period, while war veterans receiving grants had decreased by 85%.

This was according to Estimates on National Expenditure published by the National Treasury in 2011.

Old-age pension beneficiaries received R1 140 a month.

Although pensioners accounted for only 18% of all people on social welfare, the old-age pension accounted for the largest proportion of grant expenditure at 39%.

The child support grant accounted for 36% of total grant expenditure.

Teenage pregnancy

Some have argued that the child support grant acts as an incentive for teenage pregnancy.

According to the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), the number of pregnancies among girls aged 15 to 19 years peaked in 1996. This was two years before the child support grant was introduced. The study showed that number had declined since then.

This was contrary to a report by the Limpopo health and social development department published in November last year, showing that pregnancy in schools was increasing.

"Some 16% of the participants admitted to falling pregnant to obtain access to the child support grant," said Moloi.

She said more research needed to be conducted to determine the existence and extent of such a link.

Read more on:    hsrc  |  sairr  |  government spending

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