The Poverty and Inequality Institute has emphasized the importance of a basic income grant of R1 268 per month – saying people living on the poverty line will have a chance to better survive and move the country’s economy forward.

President Cyril Ramaphosa recently announced that government is looking at the feasibility of implementing such a grant.

“The amount of R1 268 is indexed to the upper-bound poverty line. With one swoop, we could eliminate poverty by having it paid. If we give too little, it doesn’t have a structural impact. So in a way people talk about that old-fashioned notion that the poor will be dependent on grants – to an extent that is correct – if the amount is just enough to survive and we won’t have that multiplier effect. So the amount itself cannot be too little, or else what you are doing is just making sure that people are surviving. We need that springboard effect,” says Isobel Frye, Poverty and Inequality Institute Studies Director.

Calls on government to provide a universal basic income grant of R1 268: Isobel Frye

Last month, StatsSA released its latest Quarterly Labour Force Survey for the first quarter of 2021, which indicates a marginal increase in the number of unemployed people in the country, to an all-time high of 32.6 percent.

This is an increase of 0.1 of a percentage point from 32.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020, meaning that the number of unemployed people has increased by 28 000 – taking the number to almost 7.2 million South Africans.

The unemployment rate according to the expanded definition increased to 43.2% in the first quarter

Tough decisions need to be made in order to implement a basic income grant: