By line: Kelebogile Masemola

25 February 2022

On Wednesday, 23 February 2022, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana delivered his Budget Speech in Parliament where he stated that the Social Development Department will receive the largest allocation of R58.6 billion over the medium term.

As of April, old age and disability grants will increase by 5% from R1890 to R1985.

At the same time, grants for persons over the age of 75 and war veterans will also increase by 5% from R1910 to R2005.

Care dependency will also see a 5% increase from R1890 to R1985 and child support grants increase from R460 to R480 a month, which is a 4.3% increase.

The Minister furthermore stated that R1 trillion will be provided to the social grants function over the MTEF period, to facilitate access to social grants and welfare services in an effort to eradicate poverty and inequality, safeguard children, empower women, youth, and the persons with disabilities.

He also said that the three new allocations made to social grants entail the following:

R44 billion in 2022/23 to continue the special Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress grant (R350 per beneficiary) for another 12 months.

A total of R1.6 billion in the two outer years to initiate a new extended child support grant for double orphans, in order to encourage the care of orphans within families rather than foster care.

A total of R13.1 billion in the outer years to offset budget reductions made in the 2021 Budget and provide for inflationary increases to permanent grants.

Ses’khona spoke to Sociology Professor, Patrick Bond from the University of Johannesburg and CEO and Chief Economist at Antswisa Transaction Advisory, Miyelani Mkhabela and they had different views.

Professor Patrick Bond says the R350 Special Covid-19 Social Relief and Distress grant is tokenistic.

“To raise the 2 thirds now below the poverty line requires ensuring they have R50 per day for all basic needs, on top of that the entire budget for grants ‘social development’ is due to be cut by 27% by 2024 when we account for both inflation and population growth”.

“This kind of austerity regime will lead to more frustration and rioting along the lines of what we witnessed in July 2021”.

“Enoch Godongwana was once a worker leader, but now should be ashamed of the damage he’s doing to the masses,” the Sociology Professor said.

Minister of Finance has allocated Social Development R364.4 billion, social security fund was allocated 84.2 billion, Child support grant R77.2 billion, Old Age grant R92.1 billion, Provincial Social Development R22.0 billion and Policy oversight and grant administration R9.9 billion, all under Social Development, Miyelani elaborated.

“The Minister of Finance presented a good budget speech focusing on reducing the livelihoods crisis, mainly as a result of Covid-19 crisis,” Miyelani Mkhabela said.

In the course of the 2022 Budget Review, The National Treasury Department had also stated that it expects the total number of grant recipients to increase by an average annual rate of 1.5%, from 18.4 million in 2021/22 to 19.2 million in 2024/25.