National Treasury says no to SAHRC proposal to increase Child Support Grant to poverty line

Issued by Bridget Masango MP – DA Shadow Minister of Social Development
29 Feb 2024 in News

Please find attached a soundbite by Bridget Masango MP.

In November last year, an investigation by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) laid bare the devastating levels of poverty and malnutrition facing children in the Eastern Cape. While their investigation was specific to the Eastern Cape, we are also aware, based on the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (NMCF), that nearly five million children (or one quarter of children) are starving in our country.

Both SAHRC and NMCF implore the need for urgent national intervention, including proposals such as increasing the Child Support Grant to the food poverty line. This proposal would increase the Child Support Grant from R510 per month to R760 per month.

The DA has fervently been in support of increasing the Child Support Grant to the food poverty line, as contained in our Social Development policy introduced in June last year. Our proposals to support our country’s children also include extending the Child Support Grant to pregnant mothers to support infant nutrition, as well as extending the Grant to learners until they complete their National Senior Certificate.

Further, we believe in expanding the zero-rated food basket and limiting hunger by including critical items such as bone-in chicken, beef, tinned beans, baby food, wheat flour, soup powder, and margarine among others.

Despite this national crisis, National Treasury has reportedly turned down the SAHRC’s proposal to increase the Child Support Grant to the poverty line, citing a lack of availability of funds. This response is misleading and apathetic by National Treasury.

As outlined in our Alternative National Budget, our country can afford to respond to childhood hunger with the appropriate refocus of our country’s budgetary priorities. Under the DA Government, we can support our country’s vulnerable through sustainable economic growth and job creation. The DA will channel public funds from failing state-owned enterprises and wasteful state expenditures to supporting the millions of South Africans living in poverty.

Contrary to our fully costed proposal, National Treasury is only set to increase the Child Support Grant by R20 from 1 April, arguing this is all the country can afford. Millions of children, however, will continue to starve, and this holds generational implications in terms of stunting and learning outcomes.

It is shocking that even calls from a Chapter 9 Institution raising alarm are not enough for our uncaring ANC government. A change in government is needed urgently for our children.

As we approach our national and provincial elections on 29 May 2024, the choice before South Africans is clear – an ANC government that does not prioritise childhood hunger and DA-led government that will ensure that our nation’s children do not go hungry. This choice is existential and will impact generations to come.