Godongwana: Income support for poor a step towards inclusive growth

Currently, 46% of the country’s total population is reliant of one or other form of government support to survive as poverty rates keep climbing.

Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana. Picture: @TreasuryRSA/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana has described income support for poor, unemployed South Africans as a stop-gap measure until the country achieves inclusive growth.

Currently, 46% of the country’s total population is reliant on one or other form of government support to survive as poverty rates keep climbing.

Three percent of the country’s gross domestic product is also spent on sustaining the assistance programmes.

Godongwana said while there are those in society in need of government support to survive, the measures in place are simply unsustainable.

Speaking during a post-budget speech breakfast in Cape Town, the minister attempted to respond to sentiments of those who feel that focus should be on inclusive growth as opposed to the continued social grants which government cannot afford to fund in perpetuity.

“Whenever there is a problem, we tend to think of a grant when we have a whole load of measures in place.”

The social distress relief grant which was extended to unemployed South Africans in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic will cost the state R45 billion for the next twelve months.

Meanwhile, National Treasury has budgeted R158.8 billion in 2022/2023 and R164.8 and R172.2 billion in the outer years to address unemployment, poverty and inequality.