CINDI, together with 35 prominent organisations, most of whom work directly in the field of child care and children’s rights, sent an urgent letter to President Cyril Rampahosa, calling for an immediate R500-a-month increase to the child support grant for six months.
The letter states that prior to the lock-down, over 10 million children received nutritious meals through the school nutrition programme and early childhood development programmes. Families are now forced to provide the nutritious meals as schools and development programmes have been closed down due to the lock-down.
Because of food price increases, families are forced to buy less nutritious food due to constrained budgets.
The letter also raises concerns with Sassa’s inability to add new beneficiaries to the social grant programme during lock-down because the required verification and biometric requirements cannot be completed.
The letter has suggested the following measures as a means to deal with social grant challenges during the lockdowComplementary measures
- Registration for SROD of vulnerable households not already receiving grants, including unemployed youth and adults in households without social grants, and new mothers with babies who cannot be registered due to all new birth registrations being on hold during the lock-down. Increasing the cash available for existing grant beneficiaries will place less demand on SROD.
- More cash without addressing congestion at big retailers, in taxis, and social grant payment queues is not effective. The recommendation is for SASSA to restructure its payment system to ensure that grants are transferred into beneficiaries’ accounts in a staggered manner.
- Subsidizing selected highly nutritious foods.
- Now that lock-down regulations have been amended to allow informal traders of food to continue to trade, extra cash in the hands of CSG beneficiaries will not only increase the ability of poor households to buy nutritious fresh produce but will also help to reduce the congestion in taxis and at big retailers; and stimulate the local economies of townships and rural areas.