Poverty reduction and social security
Alongside job creation, government’s poverty reduction strategy also prioritises the social security net and extending the social wage – which includes services such as water, electricity, sanitation, education, health care and public transport.
Madam Speaker, the progressive extension of social security is a central element of our anti-poverty strategy, made possible by the fiscal space created over the past decade.
An interdepartmental task team has made progress over the past year in developing the proposed framework for a contributory social security system to complement our social assistance grants programmes, and regulatory overhaul of the retirement fund industry
is in progress. These are complex reforms that will give practical content to our social solidarity commitment over the long term. This year will see the start of an engagement within Nedlac on implementation challenges.
In this budget, we are able to announce several steps in extending social security over the period ahead. The social grant increases this year match or exceed inflation, and take into account the disproportionate impact of price increases on the poor. The maximum values of the disability and old age grants will increase by R70 a month to R940 in April this year, while the child support grant will increase by R10 in April and by a further R10 in October, to R220 a month. Together with measures to extend the social security net, the additional social assistance cost amounts to R12 billion over the next three years. The total number of grant beneficiaries is 12.4 million, and expenditure on social assistance will be R75.3 billion next year.
Drawing on the work of the interdepartmental team on social security reform, we will begin to address the difficulties of the present means tests. The qualifying household income threshold for the child support grant will be raised and the means test formula that applies to the old age grant and...