Cautious approach needed when implementing basic income support - panel

The panel studied the appropriateness and feasibility of a system of basic income support following calls for a relief scheme that would cushion the poor.

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JOHANNESBURG - The expert panel on basic income support said a social transfer scheme is a necessary and urgent requirement in South Africa.

The panel studied the appropriateness and feasibility of a system of basic income support following calls for a relief scheme that would cushion the poor.

The report stated that the panel’s economic analysis shows that a cautious approach should be followed when implementing basic income support.

The panel also recommended that the scheme be phased in over time rather than immediately.

The basic income grant has been the subject of debate in the public discourse for years now – with the Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana telling the Sunday Times in August that he would rather use the funds to employ black youth.

The panel cited "prevailing realities" of the South African economy condemning a substantial number of working-age adults and households to socially harmful levels of income poverty as the motivation for the policy.

The eligibility and implementation model proposed in the report leverages the data collection from the COVID-19 social relief of distress grant.

In setting its qualifying levels, the panel wrote that there should be a category consistent with the continuation of the COVID social relief of distress grant until such time that the basic income support can be implemented.