SA’s poor children

2011-08-15 13:45

South Africa has a high level of child poverty, a United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) study revealed today.

The study on the impact of the global economic recession had on children indicated that child poverty remained high at 65.5%, compared with a poverty level in the overall population of 52%.

Launching the report in Kliptown, Soweto, Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini said that over 900 000 jobs were lost during the recession and this had affected children in poor households mostly.

She said government had introduced policies to alleviate poverty, including a child support grant and a social relief of distress grant.

The Unicef study indicated that the economic recession had disrupted the decline in child poverty in the past decade.

It further indicated that the child support grant was useful in helping to reduce the depth and the severity of poverty.

Tabling the report, George Laryea-Adjei of Unicef said the recession had significant negative impact among the poorest, especially those who were not receiving state grants.

“The qualitative study found the child support grant to have a significant ameliorating effect during the recession.

“The qualitative study showed that in addition to social grants, unemployment insurance provided a critical source of income that cushioned many affected individuals and their families from the adverse effects of the recession.”

Households not receiving state grants were impacted more negatively by the recession as they were forced to cut down on food expenditure, change the type of food eaten in the household and reduce the number of meals eaten per day.

Children education were also affected in household suffering from job loss due to recession.

“These households were more likely to remove children from school, transfer children to cheaper schools or lack transport money for children to go to school than households receiving state support,” Laryea-Adjei said.

Minister Dlamini said 93% of people receiving grants were children, through child support and foster care grants.

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