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Basic Income Grant Under the Spotlight

July 27, 2020

Department of Social Development

The COVID-19 pandemic is bringing back the discussion about the Basic Income Grant.

The social development minister, Lindiwe Zulu, highlighted this during the Social Development Department Budget Vote 2020/21 in parliament.

The minister confirmed that the social development department was considering multiple ways to extend the social protection coverage to those aged 18 to 59 years in the period beyond October 2020.

“The lack of social protection coverage for this group calls for an acceleration of efforts to put in place an inclusive and responsive social security system that we envisaged in the National Development Plan (NDP).”

According to the minister, discussions are currently in the early stages and the department looks forward to “working with the Members of this House to shine a spotlight on this important issue and thereby advancing solutions to ensure that no one among our people is left behind”.

The minister also declared that, as government wages a war against COVID-19, “we must not overlook the suffering of women and girls due to the shadow pandemic of gender-based violence and femicide”.

“In this regard, we welcome the review of the Domestic Violence Act and other pieces of legislation that are meant to protect women and girls.”

The department also plans to table the Draft Children’s Amendment Bill, Draft Fundraising Bill, Draft NPO Bill and Draft Social Assistance Bill in parliament during the current financial year.

The White Paper on Social Policy, to serve as the cornerstone of the Social Policy Act to speed up change in the lives of the people, is being finalised.
The minister is also considering a further extension to the period for which temporary disability grants will be paid to ease the administrative burden on applicants.

Meanwhile, in a statement, the Social Security Agency announced that it has started this week with double payments for outstanding June and July accounts for the R350 special relief grant.

“This is meant to avoid a situation where beneficiaries of the COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress grant have to make two trips to the post office and to eradicate the backlog of payments.”

SASSA also announced that it has reconsidered applications made in May against updated databases received resulting in an additional approximately 1 million applicants being approved for the grant.