“The Department of Social Development has published a green paper on proposed social security and retirement forms for public comment.
One of the key proposals of the paper is the introduction of a Basic Income Grant (BIG), first mooted in 2002 as part of the Taylor Report.
At the time of the Taylor Report, the BIG was calculated on a per-person basis of R100 per month. A household with six people – the average for the South African population at the time – would have received R600 a month, which the government would pay to the person primarily responsible for childcare.
However, the green paper envisions the BIG working differently – implemented for working-age South Africans only, while maintaining the existing social grants for children, the elderly and people with disabilities.
“In line with the reform proposal for our existing social grant framework, the BIG should be unconditional, individually-targeted and at a level that will at least lift the individual out of poverty. Consideration should also be given to a universal grant for simplicity and ease of administration,” the department said.
While South Africa’s current grants are not universal, this would align with the government’s broader social security reform proposals to make all the grants universal.
Over time, the department said the existing grants might converge into a BIG with ‘top-ups’ for various contingencies. However, in the short to medium term, the main objective will be to provide categorical income support for the population aged 18 to 59.”