23 October 2009
South Africa is to extend its child support grants to children up to the age of 15 from January 2010. The grants only apply to children from poor households, and their caregivers have to ensure that they remain in school in order to qualify for the grants.
The grants will be further extended to 16-year-olds from January 2011 and 17-year-olds from January 2012, at a total cost of R1.3-billion, R2.6-billion and R3.5-billion over the next three years respectively.
Currently, only children up to the age of 14 years are eligible for child support grants.
Speaking in Pretoria this week following a meeting of the Cabinet, government spokesperson Themba Maseko said the three grant extensions would benefit approximately two-million children from poor households.
Maseko said the government recognised that social grants were still the most effective form of poverty alleviation, especially during the current financial downturn.
Over 13-million South Africans, nine-million of whom are children, currently receive social assistance benefits from the state.
In April 2009, the government increased its monthly old age and disability grants from R960 to R1 010, the child support grant from R230 to R240, the foster care grant from R650 to R680, and the care dependency grant from R960 to R1 010 a month.