Government planning new basic income grant for South Africans

Social Development minister Lindiwe Zulu says that her department will move forward on plans to introduce a new basic income grant in South Africa.

Presenting her departmental budget speech on Tuesday (25 May), Zulu said that the need to introduce a basic income grant has become an urgent consideration for the African National Congress-led government.

“To this end, the Department has developed a Basic Income Grant (BIG) discussion document that we have started to consultations on,” she said.

“These consultations are targeted at developing the BIG financing mechanism for the unemployed population group that is aged 19 — 59 years.”

Zulu said that a secondary process around a new BIG is being discussed by the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac).

The pandemic prompted president Cyril Ramaphosa to announce a temporary top-up of existing grants by up to R300, including a R350 unemployment grant in late March 2020.

The ANC has previously said that it will also look at the feasibility of introducing a basic income grant as part of a series of outcomes decided upon by its National Executive Committee (NEC).

According to a June 2020 document seen by Bloomberg, the ANC has proposed paying an R500 monthly grant to those aged 19 to 59 who aren’t normally eligible for other aid. This would cost the state R197.8 billion a year.

Between 50% and 60% of the money could be recouped by levying extra taxes on those with jobs, it said.

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