According to Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu, the Expert Panel Report on Basic Income Support will be utilized to develop policies and programmes that address the needs of the majority of the population.
“The Supplementary Modelling Report positively shapes the discourse of society’s responsibility to provide social assistance for unemployed and income-less fellow citizens who are aged 18 to 59,” Zulu said.
At the unveiling of the second Expert Panel Report on Basic Income Support, Zulu said that the government would provide the long-term solutions necessary for South Africans to survive.
“Basic Income Support will enhance productivity owing to community capabilities. It will stimulate local economies and deter households and communities from disposing the primary assets that are a buffer between life and death,” Zulu said.
Due to the fact that entrepreneurial assistance and job creation address distinct socioeconomic concerns, Zulu said that these answers need a longer lead time before they can be implemented in areas where hunger, poverty, and humiliation are being experienced.
“Yes, as we design long-term solutions, South Africans need to live,” the Minister said.
Acting Director-General of the Department of Social Development, Linton Mchunu, asserts that the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent lock-down compounded the loss of family income and increased hunger, causing the working poor to experience the most severe job losses.
“We all know that poverty, inequality and unemployment have been massive challenges before the COVID-19 pandemic, and even as we recover to our pre-pandemic levels, the triple challenges will still be there,” Mnchunu said.
Mnchunu said that it is now commonly acknowledged on a global scale that social protection is an essential aspect of development, encompassing both human and economic growth, and that it protects vulnerable individuals from the devastating effects of natural disasters.
“Government amongst other interventions introduced the COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress (CSRD) grant to deal with the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, targeted to the vulnerable groups who are unable to support themselves due to the impact of the Coronavirus and inadequacy of market-based employment opportunities,” Mnchunu said.
Mnchunu said government has made some progress with the progressive realization of the right to social security, including children, the elderly and persons with disabilities.
“At present South Africa lacks an institutional framework that can articulate employment-related social protection benefits with labour activation at the level of the individual. This is partly due to the absence of a social security benefit for people of working age unless they are disabled,” Mnchunu said.
Mnchunu said among other things, the department is looking at a possibility of linking grant recipients to opportunities.
“Some of the grant recipients do have matric or other qualifications, the problem is that they are unemployed,” he said.
The department commissioned the study in conjunction with the International Labour Organization (ILO).
This study is the Second Expert Panel Report, after the release of the first report in December 2021.
The analysis confirms that income poverty is ubiquitous in South Africa. More than half of the families are impoverished, and the COVID-19 SRD is essential to their survival.
In addition, the effect of the SRD on poverty and inequality may be more substantial than previously thought. Despite the very small amount of the temporary alleviation, this is the case.
Poverty, inequality, and unemployment continue to increase as a result of the present unfavourable economic environment, which is influenced, among other things, by the recent COVID-19 epidemic that badly impacted the nation and the globe.
As long as the triple difficulties exist, it is commonly acknowledged that social protection is an essential element of both human and economic growth.
The growing unemployment rate and high use of the COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress (CSRD) indicate that there is a vacuum in the provision of social protection for the 18-to-59-year-old working population.
This compelled the Department of Social Development to undertake research in support of a plan to expand social assistance to this vulnerable population.
The International Labour Organization is anticipated to deliver the report to the Department of Social Development.