Govt considering introduction of basic income grant, says Zulu

Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu.
Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu.
GCIS
  • Minister Lindiwe Zulu has announced that her department is considering the introduction of a basic income grant that would assist in lifting individuals out of poverty. 
  • The grant would ensure that the poor continue to access Covid-19 grant benefits. 
  • Zulu says there is still a number of things they would need to put in place to ensure the grant reaches the right people.  

Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu says her department is considering the introduction of basic income grants that will assist South Africans between the ages of 18 and 59.

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Speaking during a social cluster briefing on lockdown regulations on Monday, Zulu said the discussion for the introduction of the grant had been brought back to the table and was being considered in view of the South African Social Security Agency's (Sassa) legislated mandate, as well as the primary mandate of the National Development Agency. 

Zulu also said the discussion had been going on for a very long time, adding it was not something that would be implemented soon."There are quite a number of things that we have to do and systems that we need to put in place to make sure that it covers the correct people," she said. 

READ | SA faced with double storm of Covid-19 and hunger, warns Zulu

The minister said the grant would result in most of the poorer individuals continuing to access Covid-19 grant benefits.

"Historic and emergent factors, particularly the Covid-19 pandemic, demand that the BIG (basic income grant) be introduced within our fiscal capabilities," she said.

"The BIG will simplify coverage and ease of grant administration. Granted that our current social security grants' system does not permit universal coverage, the current proposal will help realise the government's broader social security reform environment.

READ HERE | Covid-19: More government support needed for old age facilities

"The BIG will be unconditional, individually targeted and at the level that will lift individual South Africans out of poverty."

"Currently, the most vulnerable groups of our population are the youth between 18 and 24 and the elderly between 50 and 59. 

"Targeting these groups first and then progressively expanding to other age groups may be warranted," the minister said. 

She, however, also spoke about being mindful of the public purse, adding that she was conscious of the fact that the Finance Minister was struggling get the funds.

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