Kids on social welfare

The number of children on social welfare grants in South Africa has increased thirteen-fold since 2001. The latest facts and figures released in the South Africa Survey (2012) are set to provoke debate amongst NPOs, government and others. Here are some of the points which are going to get tongues wagging:

• Overall, social grant beneficiaries have increased by 333% since 2001, from3 449 537 to 14 932 061, with child support grant beneficiaries rising by 1 200%,from 800 476 
   in 2001 to 10 387 238 in 2011.

• Old-age pension beneficiaries have increased by only 40% in the same period, while war veterans receiving grants have decreased by 85%. This is according to Estimates on
  National Expenditure published by the National Treasury in 2011.

• Until 2008 only children up to the age of 13 years qualified to receive the child support grant. In 2009 the age increased to 14. In February 2011 the Government 
  announced the extension of the child support grant to all children up to the age of 18 years.

• According to the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), the number of pregnancies among girls aged 15 to 19 years peaked in 1996, two years before the child support
  grant was introduced, and has been declining ever since.

• In addition, only one in five teenage mothers receives the grant.

• ‘Contrary to HSRC research, however, the Limpopo health and social development department published a report in November 2011 showing that pregnancy in schools is
   increasing. Some 16% of the participants admitted to falling pregnant to obtain access to the child support grant,’ Ms Lerato Moloi, a researcher at the Institute, said.

• Children on the child support grant account for 70% of all people on social welfare and they receive R260 a month. The child support grant accounts for 36% of total grant

• Old-age pension beneficiaries receive R1 140 a month. Therefore, although pensioners account for only 18% of all people on social welfare, the old-age pension accounts for
  the largest proportion of grant expenditure (39%).

• By 2013 the number of child support grant recipients will have increased to 11 303 073, so that another one million children will be supported by the State, said Ms Moloi.

Figures, comments: Press release, South African Institute of Race Relations, 18/01/2012

Do you think child welfare grants are sufficient, excessive or too few?

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