Mixed reaction to pension and child grant increases

THERE was mixed reaction from the beneficiaries of social grants.

Senior citizens, who were receiving a pension of R1010, were pleased with the R70 increase that will be effective from March 1.

Flossy Phiri, 67, of Soweto expressed joy and reservations.

"I'm happy with the increase but I'm not satisfied because we have more expenses as the elderly," she said.

Phiri said she uses her pension to support her four grandchildren.

She had expected Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan to increase herpension by R200.

Connie Mlotshwa, 74, of Meadowlands, Soweto, was also happy.

"I believe the increase will make the pension go a long way," Mlotshwa said.

But young mothers were not as happy with the R10 increase their child support grants of R240.

Patricia Mabale, 43, a mother of three children was disappointed with the R10 increase.

"It's too small. We have children to feed and big bills to pay," she said.

But Grace Pitsoane-Mantu, who receives grants for her two children, appreciated the small increase.

"Half a loaf is better thannothing. At least the minister gave us something," she said.

Meanwhile, Gordhan's plan to subsidise the private sector in creating jobs for school leavers was hailed.

Unemployed Xolani Nyaleni, 28, of Meadowlands, Soweto, was excited about the government's plan to create jobs.

"I'm happy with the plan because all I want is a job," said Nyaleni.

Zolani Gombela, 31, also of Meadowlands, was also pleased withGordhan's plan.

"I'm happy that jobs will be created for us. It looks like the minister is now paying attention to the plight of young people," Gombela said.

Gordhan also announced that a pack of 20 cigarettes will go up by R1,24 and liquor (spirits) will rise by R2,22 while beer will go up by 6,5c a litre.

Ben Maphosa, a smoker and drinker of alcohol, was disappointed with the increases.

But another smoker, Bob James, had a different view.

"Even if cigarettes were increased by R50, I would still smoke. I'm just happy that the money is used for a good cause," he said.