Petition for R500 boost to child support grants nears target of 600,000 signatures

A campaign to persuade the government to urgently increase child support grants by R500 for six months has received 557,707 out of a target of 600,000 signatures.

A group of NGOs and academics wrote to President Cyril Ramaphosa last week. The government said it was considering their request to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Yes, I can confirm that we are looking at adjusting temporarily the child-support grant and old-age pension grant,” said finance minister Tito Mboweni on Tuesday.

Currently, beneficiaries of child support grants receive R445, while the old-age pension grant beneficiaries receive R 1,860 per month.

“A team of experts commissioned to work on an economic response to Covid-19 has been modelling the possible effects of the lockdown on the informal sector specifically, and the spin-off effects for poverty levels,” reads a text on the campaign on Amandla Wethu.

“They estimate that for households that rely on income from the informal labour market, food poverty rates could more than double over the three weeks of the lockdown period. As the depth of poverty increases, more people will go hungry – including millions of children.”

It said social grants are an effective mechanism for protecting children and families against the effects of poverty.

“The economic insecurity and poverty-related stresses and anxiety caused by the pandemic directly contribute to increases in violence against women and children. In addition to reducing hunger, economic strengthening will be protective of women and children.”

BY KGAUGELO MASWENENG

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