The Children’s Institute, based at the University of Cape Town (UCT), has written to Parliament asking for the child allowance to be increased by a “meager” R10 in October to mitigate the rise in food prices and provide some protection against child hunger malnutrition.
The Children’s Institute asked Parliament to add a “meager” R10 to the Child Support Grant (CSG) in October to help moderate the rise in food prices and provide some protection against child starvation and malnutrition.
According to Katharine Hall from the Children’s Institute, the grant will buy even less in 2021 than it will in 2020. “As it is, the CSG is too small to cover the cost of a minimal basic food for a child,” said Halle.
The CSG, the smallest of all grants, is currently at R460 after having elevated from R450 in April 2021. Many believe the grant should at least target the national food poverty line, which was R585 in 2020. Even that should have been increased to at least R600 this year, Hall said.
She said that while increasing the R10 is not enough, it is immediately feasible and “essential to provide some protection against child hunger and malnutrition”. The child benefit allowance is usually increased by R 10 in April and October each year.
According to the Ministry of Finance According to estimates of national spending in 2021, over the next three years, despite an estimated increase of 300,000 grant recipients per year, spending on social aid will decrease by 36 billion ren. The budget document states that the decline follows the “cessation of social assistance due to the Covid-19 pandemic”, but assures that “in the medium term, R22.5 billion will be transferred to SASSA”.
In its submission to the Standing Committee on Budgets, the Children’s Institute asked Parliament to ensure that the Ministry of Finance provides an additional ZAR billion for the grant.
“It is untenable for the poorest and most vulnerable children to have to pay the bill for reallocating the budget with grant victims, especially as South Africa is also tackling an ongoing epidemic of child malnutrition,” the Children’s Institute said in its statement.
Standing Committee on Budgets chairman Sfiso Buthelezi said low economic growth, debt levels and the impact of Covid-19 required budget cuts in all departments. He said the committee welcomed the call to increase the child benefit allowance. Buthelezi said the committee had urged the Ministry of Social Development to give priority to the CSG despite the constraints on its budget cuts.
Buthelezi added that the committee will work with the National Treasury “to find lasting solutions for funding children and especially orphans”.
This article first appeared on GroundUp.
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