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Expand grant system for rural unemployed, suggests analyst

11 March, 01:49 PM

Professor Jeremy Seekings says surveys show "most South Africans" don't support the idea of an unemployment grant for young, able people.

Mimicking the attitude of respondents he said they thought, "It's okay if you're elderly, disabled, if you're a mother with children and you need to bring up children, feed them properly, that's okay. But don't give young men or young women something for nothing. So, politically there are huge obstacles to expanding the grant system cover the huge number of unemployed young men and young women who have no earnings."

However, he says, older unemployed people in rural South Africa could benefit from a reduction in the age of eligibility for the national pension.

"These are people who have hard and tough lives and I certainly think government could certainly be thinking of reducing the age of eligibility in rural areas," he says.

Seekings teaches political studies and sociology at the University of Cape Town (UCT). Together with Nicoli Nattrass he has argues in favour of implementing a national minimum wage (with conditions). The two also authored a book studying Policy, Politics and Poverty in South Africa.

In this video Seekings asserts South Africa has an unprecedented system of social grants compared to other countries around the world. Yet most South Africans surveyed for their views on an unemployment grant responded unfavourably to the idea of giving "someone something for nothing".

In the case of rural South Africans not old enough to qualify for the old-age pension, Seekings would like the government to offer financial support.

Watch the clip above.

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