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Social grants to be increased by additional R11,5 billion

Wednesday, 24 February 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Author: Babalo Ndenze
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Author: Babalo Ndenze (Times Live)

While government spending in a number of areas is significantly down‚ social grants will receive an additional R11.5 billion to protect low-income households.

Old age and disability grants will be getting the biggest increases.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan on Wednesday delivered a budget in which he outlined a number of measures to contain spending. "In taking the comprehensive social security agenda forward‚ we have to recognise the existing social security arrangements are fragmented‚ which raises costs and leaves several social needs unaddressed‚” said Gordhan.

He said he and Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini had "shared responsibility” for the social security reform programme "which has drawn on both international good practice and interdepartmental work of recent years”.

Gordhan said the overall expenditure on social assistance would increase from R129 billion this year to R165 billion in 2018/2019.

Old age‚ disability and care dependency grants would rise by R80 to R1‚500 in April this year‚ and by a further R10 to R1‚510 in October.

The child support grant would rise by R20 to R350 in April and the foster care grant by R30 to R890.

"In October‚ depending on how we see these processes unfolding‚ we could possibly increase social grants by R10 as well‚” Gordhan told a press briefing shortly before delivering his speech.

According to the budget review‚ the reprioritisation and spending reductions have been designed to minimise negative consequences for low-income households.

"Social grants have been protected‚ and core social and economic programmes will be maintained. However‚ these changes will slow the expansion of budgets over the medium term‚” according to the budget review.

Gordhan’s predecessor Nhlanhla Nene said during last year’s budget that South Africa aimed to have 17.5 million people on social grants by 2018 from 16.4m in December 2014. These include people with disabilities‚ pensioners‚ war veterans and children.

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