The government will no longer continue with the temporary increases to social grants which were introduced to mitigate the economic effects of Covid-19 on the poor.
Among the increased grants that will revert to their original amount are child-support and old-age grants. The grants were temporarily increased by between R300 and R500 a month in April to cushion the poor from the ravages of the coronavirus pandemic.
Finance minister Tito Mboweni made the announcement in parliament on Wednesday as he tabled the 2020 medium-term budget policy statement.
Mboweni told MPs that the temporary grant increases would now be stopped, as they were no longer affordable.
“The temporary increases in other grants will unfortunately have to come to an end,” said Mboweni.
The move is likely to be interpreted as a slap in the face of poor communities by civil society organisations, who have been calling on Mboweni to instead introduce further increases to social grants.
However, Mboweni has confirmed that the special Covid-19 social grant of R350 per month would remain in place until the end of January next year.
“Because this grant is so effective in reaching the unemployed, we propose to redirect R6.8bn from the public employment programme allocation,” he said.
BY Thabo Mokone