Activist group Black Sash said the increases of 4.7 per cent for old age grants and 4.8 per cent for child support grants does not take account the inflation rate of 5.2 per cent year on year as at 31 December.
Black Sash National advocacy Manger Hoodah Abrahams Fayker said the increases poses great concern because a R10 increase is not enough to cater for the needs of the younger generation.
“We are concerned about the support grant that has increased by only R10. This is far below the inflation rate, you are hardly able to purchase a bread with that R10,” she said.
Abrahams Fayker said the increase in the current child support grant to R410 Rands does not meet the food poverty line and urges Government to increase the amount to at least the food poverty line mark of 550 Rands.
“With the current grant we witness how people struggle and as a result incur debt as a means to an end. The 2018/2019 inflation rate is the biggest this far and a R10 is not acceptable. We urge government to reconsider and increase the social grant to R550,” she added.
The minister has also indicated during his speech that the old age grant would increase by R80.
Abrahams Fayker said the increase is ridiculous as many elderly people have extra expenditure and only one source of income.
“As of April 2019, the old age grant will increase to R1750 which is also unacceptable. People have extra expenses, they have medical and living expenses that are very expensive. We have been advocating for a proper increase in all sectors of grants,” she said.
Abrahams Fayker said they have also identified another vulnerable group that are in dire need of financial assistance from government.
“We have identified a high rate of unemployment for South Africans within the age bracket of 18 and 59 years old, these people are struggling to find employment as some of them lack the proper qualifications and others are simply too old to be employed,” she stressed.
Abrahams Fayker said as South Africans everyone has the right to social assistance; however, government fails to see and assist with the needs of the poor and the challenges they face.
“Our voices need to be heard and our struggles identified. Government should reconsider the increases and the pay points for beneficiaries as there are always challenges when money is being administered which in many cases leads to an extra use of funds that people could have utilised for their general cost of living,” she said.