Government to look at basic income grant for South Africa: Ramaphosa

 ·8 Jan 2021

President Cyril Ramaphosa says that the African National Congress government will consider the introduction of a basic income grant in South Africa in 2021.

Speaking at the party’s 109th-anniversary celebrations, Rampahosa said consideration for the grant comes after emergency financial measures introduced around the Covid-19 pandemic come to an end.

Despite the country’s limited resources, the country needs to look at identifying other poverty alleviation measures, he said.

“This year the ANC government, and broader society, will need to continue discussions on the desirability and the viability of a basic income grant to provide a social safety net to poor people in our country,” he said.

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.

In a recent parliamentary Q&A, Social Development minister Lindiwe Zulu said that no formal decision had been taken by the cabinet to extend these grants into a universal basic income grant.

However, 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 proposes paying a R500 monthly grant to those aged 19 to 59 who aren’t normally eligible for other aid 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.

Read: Rand continues to slide over fears of Covid-19 variant and tougher lockdown restrictions for South Africa

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