Budget again boosts low-income earners

Grant recipients will receive an additional R100 this year, but the increase will be phased in over the year, with the first R90 being added on April 1 and R10 in October.
Grant recipients will receive an additional R100 this year, but the increase will be phased in over the year, with the first R90 being added on April 1 and R10 in October.
Image: SANDILE NDLOVU

The budget again prioritises low-income earners by providing above-inflation increases to social grant recipients and introducing free tertiary education from this year.

If you get an old-age grant or a disability or care dependency grant, you will receive R100 more this year, but the kicker is that the increase is phased in over the course of the year.

Your R1600 grant will be partially increased by R90 on April 1 and by another R10 on October 1, bringing your total income to R1700 per month.

Caring for a child with a child support grant will be only slightly easier as the grant increases from R380 to R400 on April 1 and by a further R10 to R410 on October 1.

Treasury says spending on social protection will grow by 7.9% annually over the next three years. The number of social grant recipients is expected to reach 18.1million by the end of 2020/21.

An estimated 12.8million people will receive the child support grant and 3.7million will receive the old-age grant.

Expenditure on grants is expected to reach R189.8-billion in 2020/21.

A highlight of this year's budget is the provision for free higher education to students from poor families. This will apply to all first-year students at universities and technical and vocational education training colleges in 2018, who will receive full funding for their studies in their first year.

The programme will be rolled out in subsequent years until all years of study are covered. The criteria for receiving this funding is that the students' families must earn less than R350000 a year. Also, university students who are part of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme will have their loans for 2018 onwards converted to a bursary.

Deputy Minister of Finance Sifiso Buthelezi said it was not easy to find funding for this expense - R57-billion - but it was the duty of government to invest in future generations.

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba delivered his annual budget speech in Parliament on February 21 2018. Here are the highlights.

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