A new proposal has been introduced in South Africa to address the issue of unemployment and rising living costs.
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The GOOD party has launched a campaign for a basic income grant of R999 to assist the approximately 8 million South Africans who are struggling to meet their essential needs. The party argues that providing cash is the most effective way to assist individuals without income.
Secretary General of the GOOD Party, Brett Herron, believes that the government is not fulfilling its obligation to support the impoverished population, as outlined in Section 27 of the South African Constitution. The proposal has been dubbed the “GOOD deal” and is expected to be a key priority leading up to the general elections next year.
Access to healthcare services, adequate food and water supply, and social security, including social assistance for those who cannot support themselves and their dependents, is crucial. The National Development Plan aims to eliminate poverty in South Africa and the R999 grant is intended to achieve this goal.
The lower-bound poverty line in 2022 was estimated to be R945 per month, but the current Social Relief of Distress grant falls short of even half this amount. The R999 grant is designed to cover the lower-bound poverty line with an additional sum allocated for transportation expenses, mainly for job-seeking purposes.
Currently, the SRD grant beneficiaries receive R350 per month, which has not changed since its introduction in 2020 and is funded until 31 March 2024. As of April 2022, the estimated food poverty line was R663 per person per month, and the R350 monthly grant is insufficient to meet about half of the current estimated food poverty line.
The proposed basic income grant would benefit unemployed South Africans aged 18 to 60. The GOOD party has conducted research to determine how the grant could be funded. The research suggests that the grant could be financed by cutting expenses related to provincial legislatures, executives, and resources allocated to the premiers.
To achieve this, the government could adopt a zero-based budgeting approach and eliminate inefficient programs that do not yield a satisfactory return on investment. Measures such as reducing the number of ministers, ministries, and departments may be necessary.