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More than half of SA population (61%) reliant on social grants - study

7 April 2021 7:13 PM
Tags:
SASSA
Poverty
Inequality
Unemployment
The Money Show
Lindiwe Zulu
Bruce Whitfield
joblessness
Social Grant
Bronwyn Williams
Flux Trends
COVID-19
basic income grant
COVID-19 special relief social grant
Brookings
Brookings Institution
state dependency

The special Covid grant resulted in a big jump in state dependency says trend analyst Bronwyn Williams, but how sustainable is it?

The Special Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress grant will be terminated at the end of April.

Funds for the R350 grant came from the R500 billion social and economic relief package announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa in March 2020.

Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu has called for the urgent introduction of a Basic Income Grant (BIG) to replace the Covid-19 grant.

During 2020 more than half of South Africa's population - 61% - received some form of social grant according to statistics released by the Brookings Institution, a US research group.

Brookings Institution stats on SA social grant recipients in 2020

While government should be congratulated on its ability to help citizens in need, paying out social grants at this level is not sustainable comments Bruce Whitfield.

He discusses the Brookings research with Bronwyn Williams, trend translator and future finance specialist at Flux Trends.

The numbers do add up quite easily - already prior to Covid there were already around 18 million South Africans getting some sort of a social grant. Most of those were child support grants, but also included are old age and disability grants.

Bronwyn Williams, Trend analyst - Flux Trends

The big jump came with Covid when we opened up our grants to people who are unemployed - that special Covid relief grant... for those who were not in the formal work force or unable to be involved in self-employment.

Bronwyn Williams, Trend analyst - Flux Trends

That added another 6 million-odd and if you look at some of the numbers up to 9 million people at some point... That beefed up the numbers all the way to essentially 61% of South Africans having some form of social grant that they are surviving off one way or another, which is quite extraordinary.

Bronwyn Williams, Trend analyst - Flux Trends

She says the situation in South Africa is somewhat different to more developed countries where grants during the pandemic have been a supplement for people who still had some source of an income.

Here at home, it's a case of trying to address systemic unemployment.

In many ways, South Africa is a preview of a global future rather than a throwback to the past in that we're just a bit further along in the sliding scale towards increased dependency on the state, and increasing inequality at the same time.

Bronwyn Williams, Trend analyst - Flux Trends

That's what's particularly concerning... Absolutely, we need to make sure people can survive; that's the urgent crisis we have to deal with. The important crisis is the much longer-term gain of trying to get people off grants and back to being productive members of society.

Bronwyn Williams, Trend analyst - Flux Trends

Ultimately we should be trying to look at ways to get people off grants and back into the workforce or back into some form of financial independence.

Bronwyn Williams, Trend analyst - Flux Trends

Listen to this important conversation on The Money Show:




7 April 2021 7:13 PM
Tags:
SASSA
Poverty
Inequality
Unemployment
The Money Show
Lindiwe Zulu
Bruce Whitfield
joblessness
Social Grant
Bronwyn Williams
Flux Trends
COVID-19
basic income grant
COVID-19 special relief social grant
Brookings
Brookings Institution
state dependency

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