South Africa’s monthly old age and disability grants will increase from R1 270 to R1 350 from April, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan told Parliament on Wednesday.
Child support grants will increase from R300 to R310 a month from April and to R320 a month from October, while foster care grants will increase to R830 a month. The increases are in line with inflation forecasts of 6.2% for the 2014/15 financial year.
Delivering his Budget speech in Cape Town, Gordhan said the number of South Africans who were eligible for grants would increase to 16.5-million over the next three years.
The good news for the fiscus is that the recent re-registration of grant recipients, along with the introduction of a modernised payment system has lowered the cost of administering the system, while removing hundreds of thousands of invalid beneficiaries from the database.
South Africa’s social assistance system, one of the largest in Africa, is the government’s most direct means of combating poverty. Spending on social grants accounts for 3% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and is projected to rise from R118-billion in 2013/14 to R145-billion by 2016.
The child support and old age grants are the two largest grant programmes, constituting about 75% of total grant spending.
Over the past decade, the number of social grant beneficiaries has doubled, from 7.9-million in 2003 to 15.8-million this year, largely due to an expansion of the child support grant.
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