Now that Government has rolled out support for the vulnerable during the pandemic, calls have come for Government to introduce a more permanent solution. Black Sash has started a campaign to work towards having Government introduce a Basic Income Grant.
Human rights organisation, Black Sash, is petitioning for Government to implement a Basic Income Grant after the implementation of the R350 grant by SASSA. This basic income grant should benefit those between the ages of 18 and 59 who need it and should be valued at R1268 per month, says Black Sash.
The South African Government has a constitutional and an international obligation to provide social security, including to ensure that those aged 18 to 59 years have access to social assistance.
South Africa currently provides social grants to an estimated 18 million South Africans which includes the elderly, children and people with disabilities. It does however leave vulnerable individuals who are able bodied and between the ages of 18 and 59 out of those qualifying categories.
During the pandemic, Government is implementing a R350 grant which will come to an end in January 2021. This grant provides for any one in the country who is unemployed and who doesn’t receive any other form of income. Outside of this, those individuals don’t have any other income. This is therefore why many calls have come for Government to introduce a similar grant outside of this one.
Other forms of support from Government during the pandemic came in the form of grant top ups as well as a Caregivers grant. However, these came to an end in October. Many have also asked these to be extended but Government has said that they won’t be.
Black Sash has said that both of these intervention were not enough to cover basic food, energy sources, transport as well as the new hygiene protocols the pandemic calls for.
Due to the effects of the pandemic, Black Sash says, “For the foreseeable future, the economy will not be able to absorb all the unemployed” as the country has seen increases in unemployment, food insecurity, poverty and hunger.
Black Sash therefore believes that the basic income grant will ensure that all who live in South Africa have an adequate standard of living.
Their demands are as follows:
- Permanent social assistance for those aged 18 to 59, valued at the upper-bound poverty line, currently R1268 per month. Caregivers, who receive the Child Support Grant must also qualify for this grant.
- Make the COVID-19 grant increases of R250 per month permanent for all social grants.
- Ensures that the above provisions apply to refugees, permanent residents, asylum seekers and migrant workers with special permits.
- Works towards a universal basic income.
We refuse to remain silent about people’s hardship!
Black Sash’s campaign has been endorsed by various organisations.
On Friday, 30 October, the Pretoria High Court is set to hear an urgent application brought by the Black Sash Trust against the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) and the Ministers of Social Development and Finance. This application concerns the R500 Caregiver Grant that will terminate at the end of the month.