Grant 'doesn't encourage teen pregnancy'
Johannesburg - The child support grant (CSG) helps ease the burden on women, who bear the brunt of coping with poverty, and does not encourage teenage pregnancy, according to research conducted by the University of Johannesburg.
Leila Patel, director of the Centre for Social Development in Africa at UJ, said the findings showed the R270 grant paid per child improved the quality of life of the very poor in South Africa.
About 55% of South African children receive the child support grant, which is the most far-reaching social support in the country.
The three-year study by the centre was done in Doornkop in Soweto. In total 343 households were surveyed with a special focus on women. About 44% of the households surveyed were living on less than R1 000 a month and supplementing their income with hawking, hairdressing, and caring for children.
Patel said that even though the results were local, they could be extrapolated to include other similar urban areas. The results of the research meant the City of Johannesburg was now focusing on Doornkop as an area in need of social services.
"It has placed the spotlight on this community and, generally, the CSG can be used to target communities with other social needs."
The research found that 90% of CSG beneficiaries were women in households living on less than R1 000 a month.
"There is a lot of negative debate about the CSG that it is being misused," she said. "This was not what we found."
The allegation that the grant encouraged teenage pregnancy could also not be proved, she added.
"Only about five percent of women between 16 and 20 years old and who had a child are receiving the grant," she said.