‘Recipe for chaos’ as grant recipients now outnumber people with jobs in SA

The number of people receiving social grants has risen more than threefold in the past 15 years, the SA Institute of Race Relations says

 Social grants recipients queue to collect their their grant money in Soshanguve, near Pretoria. Photo Alaister Russell © The Times

The number of people receiving grants has increased by 328% in 15 years‚ while those with jobs increased by only 24%.

This is according to the latest South Africa Survey published by the South African Institute of Race Relations (IRR).

The IRR survey showed that in 2001, there were 12,494,000 people in employment and 3,993,133 people receiving social grants.

Fifteen years later‚ there were more people receiving social grants in SA than there were people with jobs.

According to IRR analyst Gerbrandt van Heerden: “In 2016‚ there were 15,545,000 people with jobs in SA while 17,094,331 people were receiving social grants.”

Van Heerden said: “The numbers are a recipe for social and political chaos. With SA formally in recession‚ the government will find it difficult to afford the cost of its social grants programme. As the economy stagnates‚ and tax revenue slows‚ demand for more grants will increase. The government will then have to cut other areas of expenditure in order to meet popular demands for more and higher grants. We predict that this will lead to much higher levels of violent protest action.”

He added: “There is no doubt that the grants roll-out did a lot to improve living standards in SA.

“However‚ the grants have become a double-edged sword. The inability to continue expanding the roll-out while also increasing the value of grants will see living standards begin to stagnate and even slip.

“Poor and unemployed people will be worst affected and may suffer new misery as their living standards begin to fall. The consequences for social cohesion will be severe as inequality increases,” Van Heerden said.

“The pending grants crisis will trigger much suffering and desperation in already poor communities.”

Leave a Reply