17 February 2010
South Africa will spend R89-billion on state social grants in 2010/11 in the face of increasing unemployment and the impact of last year’s recession.
Tabling his Budget speech in Parliament, Cape Town on Wednesday, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said provision had been made for the extension of the child support grant up to the age of 18.
State old-age pensions and disability grants will rise by R70 to R1 080 a month, while child support grants will increase by R10 to R250 per month.
“We recognise that the increase in the child support grant is slightly below the inflation rate but the social benefit and the cost of bringing in two million more children implies that we have to adjust this grant more moderately,” Gordhan said.
Expenditure on grants is set to increase from 3.2% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to 3.5%.
Nearly 14-million South Africans are benefiting from the country’s social assistance programme, with more than 9-million of these grants going to households with children.
Widening grant access
In the next year, the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) will focus on widening access to social grants, and improving grants administration and payments in order to minimise fraud.
In co-operation with the Special Investigation Unit, the SASSA has cracked down on fraudulent grant claims among public servants and is currently investigating similar abuses in the public sector.
It is estimated that about R300-million will be recovered from dormant accounts this year.