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FROM next year an extra two million children will benefit from the government's child support grants.
The cabinet has approved the long-awaited extension of the child support grant to children under the age of 16.
Government spokesperson Themba Maseko said the adjustment would benefit an extra two million children from poor households.
At present the grant is cut off when a child turns 15. But from January 1 next year all children under 16 years will be eligible for a grant of R240 a month.
On January 1 2011 the grant will be extended to all children under the age of 17, and the following year, in 2012, all children aged under 18 will get the grant.
Extending the grant to children up to 18 years has been on the cards since the ANC's Polokwane conference in 2007.
DA leader in Parliament Athol Trollip said the "DA is on record as supporting the intention by government to increase the child support grant to the age of 18".
"It has been shown that the impact of these grants in poor families is huge.
"But, we are concerned that too many people depend on the state for their wellbeing.
"It has been shown that welfare grants alleviate poverty but jobs eradicate poverty.
"That is why the DA believes these children's lot is influenced better when their parents find work.
"The government must create jobs to eradicate poverty."
UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said the government should work hard to create jobs.
"We welcome the announcement, especially in situations where there is no hope for employment. People can say we are becoming a welfare state but we cannot fold our arms when people are dying.
"The growth brought about by Gear policies has also brought jobless growth.
"The UDM has been calling for an economic indaba to find a permanent and reliable macro-economic strategy."