Economist calls for govt to make R350 social grant permanent

Economist Dick Forslund also said government should consider making it more permanent.

FILE: President Cyril Ramaphosa during his address on 27 June 2021, when he moved South Africa to alert level 4. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN - The reinstated R350 Social Relief Distress Grant will cost the state about R30 billion, but there’s a view the president should consider increasing the amount.

Economist Dick Forslund on Monday said government should consider making it more permanent.

The senior economist at the Alternative Information Development Centre said government should also drop austerity policies, saying they had a negative impact on society.

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday night announced the return of the R350 grant, saying it was to assist the poorest until the end of March.

He said it had been made possible by a slight improvement in revenue collection.

Forslund said the additional revenue was due to better corporate tax collection by the South African Revenue Service.

“So, I think a lot of new corporate income tax has been collected by SARS so that’s a reason they can put in these billions of R350 over eight months besides the political pressure they are under.”

Forslund said government could go one better and not only extend the social relief grant, but increase the amount.

“So, at least phase in a permanent grant of let's say the poverty line of R1,300 per month for 10, 11 million people or something like that. But that could be a cost of over R150 billion.”

Ramaphosa has also revealed the grant will be expanded to allowed unemployed caregivers to apply.

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday relaxed the country's coronavirus restrictions to level 3 on 25 July 2021. Our infographic explains what you can and cannot do under lockdown level 3. Picture: Eyewitness News

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