At the social cluster media briefing on Monday, Minister Lindiwe Zulu announced that a Basic Income Grant (BIG) was being considered for people between the ages of 18 and 59.
Minister Zulu says that the Department of Social Development is considering the BIG so that Covid-19 grant benefits can still be accessed by poorer individuals.
She says, “The BIG will simplify coverage and ease of grant administration. Granted that our current social security grants system does not permit universal coverage, the current proposal will help realise the government’s broader social security reform environment. The BIG will be unconditional, individually-targeted and at the level that will lift individual South Africans out of poverty,”.
In an article posted on the Daily Maverick, Stephen Grootes agrees that a permanent Basic Income Grant is an easy intervention that the government could implement. Grootes says that a BIG will help people access food, prevent acts of frustration and violence against the state, provide aid for people who are not currently receiving any help from the government and strengthen social solidarity.
“Also, the argument advanced against a Basic Income Grant, that it would lead to dependency and reduce the incentive to find work is much weaker than it was in previous decades; in today’s job-saturated economies with increased productivity and automation there are often simply no jobs to find,” Grootes refutes.
The Minister says that the BIG will first be targeted at the most vulnerable, which includes youth between the ages of 18-24 and the elderly aged 50-59. The grant will later be expanded to other age groups.