child support grant outcry

Anna Majavu

Anna Majavu

The government has left teenagers exposed to the elements, without the umbrella of a child support grant.

This was the message from the Black Sash, which protested outside Parliament yesterday, calling for the child support grant to be extended to children up to the age of 18.

Independent Democrats leader Patricia de Lille, meanwhile, said Finance Minister Trevor Manuel should have announced an "immediate extension of the child support grant to 18 years because our Constitution defines a child as someone under 18".

Narend Singh, of the Inkatha Freedom Party, said the R20 increase in social grants was "far from satisfactory".

The United Democratic Movement's finance spokesman Jackson Bici told Sowetan: "We see the minister shifting to a deficit budget and wonder if it is because he is being forced by (SACP leader) Blade Nzimande, who is against surplus budgets."

The SA Communist Party and the Congress of SA Trade Unions have said in the past that the government should stop storing surplus money and spend it on eradicating poverty.

Democratic Alliance deputy spokesman on finance Dion George said: "Manuel focused on the right areas, job creation and social security but we would have liked more emphasis on public/private partnership to create jobs and small businesses." However, he added: "His talk about macro-economic continuity contrasts with the ANC alliance's economic statements. Clearly there is some kind of divide."

Some parties praised Manuel's speech, with the Azanian People's Organisation's David Lebethe saying it "restored confidence in economic stability in the country, despite the goings-on in the ruling party and the lack of service delivery generally".

The UDM's Bici said the party commended Manuel "for giving increases to the children".

"But we don't know if the R265 million for school nutrition includes Eastern Cape because very few schools get nutrition in that province."