Taxpayers foot R2bn bill towards child support grant

South African money.
South African money.
Image: Stock Photo

Taxpayers have forked out R2.2-billion towards child support grant in Eastern Cape alone in the past three financial years.

These shocking figures were revealed by social development MEC Nancy Sihlwayi in a written reply to a question from DA's Kobus Botha at the Bhisho legislature.

Sihlwayi said the province spent R656 461 050 towards child support grant in the 2015/16 financial year before the figure rose to R711-million in the 2016/17 financial year.

She said "economic investment" on child support grant rose to R798 692 200 in the 2017/18 financial year that ended last month.

This means that there was R142-million more spent within the past three years as the number of child support grant beneficiaries increased by 21000 more children. As at the beginning of this month, there were close to two million children benefiting from the taxpayer-sponsored child support grant in the province.

Sihlwayi praised the expansion of social grant recipients, saying it was the much-needed social investment in the democratic dispensation.

"This is a progressive and critical investment to the province of the Eastern Cape comparatively from 1993 to date," said Sihlwayi.

"The progress equally is informed by demographics and geographical spread which continue to improve annually."

According to the figures released by Sihlwayi, the old age grant had also seen an increase in both the number of beneficiaries and the money spent in the same period.

On the disability front, the number of permanently disabled recipients has dropped in the past three years while that of temporarily disabled beneficiaries has risen by a staggering 1000 new beneficiaries.

At at end of the last financial year, the state had spent R300-million on 173 000 permanently disabled grant recipients.

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