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Relief for grant recipients

By unknown | Feb 21, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]



Velma Mojanaga has three children on the government's child support grant.

One of the children is 14 years old and up until yesterday, she would have had the child delisted from the grant.

Finance Minister Trevor Manuel, during his budget speech yesterday, increased the cut-off age for children on child support grants to 15.

"I am so happy and I want to say thank you to the minister for this because my child can remain on the grant, which helps me a lot," said Mojanaga, who works as a cleaner.

Though Manuel's announcement will bring relief to Mojanaga and others in the same position, it was not met with the same enthusiasm by the Black Sash, a trust organisation which provides paralegal advice to disadvantaged individuals, groups and communities.

"We are deeply disappointed that Finance Minister Trevor Manuel has failed to realise the Constitutional rights of all our children by limiting the extension of the child support grant to 15.

"This means that those born in 1994 at the dawn of our democracy will be left to fend for themselves without any form of social protection until they retire.

"And the future potential of 2,5million vulnerable young South Africans between the ages of 15 and 18 will remain in jeopardy as they battle to complete their schooling and find work in our skills-driven economy," said the Sash.

Social Development Minister Zola Skweyiya told a media briefing last week that the grant would be extended to the age of 18 and that the means test would be recalculated.

The Sash said it was equally concerned about the proposed review of eligibility criteria for the child support grant.

"Attaching further conditions to this grant has the potential to exclude many more poor and marginalised children, especially if the government is unable to guarantee access to, and the efficient delivery of free schooling and basic medical care," it said.

Mojanaga's lot in life is made easier by the child support grants she receives from the state.

She said yesterday that the R20 increase, which would bring the amount she gets every month to R200 a child, would come in handy as an addition to her meagre salary of R1491,88.

From her gross pay, Mojanaga's deductions amount to R535,72, leaving her with R956,16 net pay.

Her total monthly expenses of transport R674; groceries R600; school fees R660; and clothing account R360; amount to R2294, R1337,84 more than what she takes home from her salary.


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