Social Development minister Lindiwe Zulu says that South Africa should introduce a basic income grant once Covid-19 support measures conclude at the end of April.
Speaking during a mini-plenary debate in the National Assembly on Friday (12 March), Zulu said that despite the financial issues currently facing the country, the introduction of some form of universal income is long overdue.
“This is not the time for us to play politics around this issue, because this is an issue that should enable us to respond to the needs of the people of South Africa.
“This is the time for me, my department and my entities to get the necessary support from the wider government, and appreciate this opportune moment to move beyond discussion and policy proposals.”
Zulu further dispelled rumours that the government was considering the introduction of the grant as a form of electioneering.
Instead, she said that the discussion needs to happen as the Covid-19 grants introduced by the government ends, and a more sustainable option is introduced.
The pandemic prompted president Cyril Ramaphosa to announce a temporary top-up of existing grants by up to R300, including a R350 unemployment grant in late March 2020.
The ANC has previously said that it will also look at the feasibility of introducing a basic income grant as part of a series of outcomes decided upon by its National Executive Committee (NEC).