Press Release: 40 Civil Society Organisations: ‘We Want R1,268 For All Now’

Press Release: 40 Civil Society Organisations: ‘We Want R1,268 For All Now’









SOUTH AFRICA: Today, over 40 social justice civil society activists committed to a national demand that the government introduce a universal Basic Income Grant (BIG) in South Africa of R1 268 per month without delay.


The meeting was called by Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute, the Women’s Legal Centre and the Black Sash to coordinate this call for a BIG in face of the state’s continued  failure to address the basic needs of millions of South Africa who remain excluded from any assistance in recent lock down mitigation interventions announced by the government.


With over 24 million adults not working, the Covid-related Social Relief of Distress grant and earlier Caregiver’s grants provided some small relief, but that relief has come to a cruel end. Over 13 million people, 3 million of them children, were already  living in hunger before these grants ended. The one meal a day provided through school feeding ended as schools continue to be closed with enhanced Lockdown Level 4. Communities have been pushed into even greater trauma through the protest actions seen on every street.


A BIG is a monthly grant that would be paid to everyone to ensure that no one is left behind. It would be recovered through tax from the wealthy and elites. A BIG would enable everybody to meet their basic needs and would provide the ability to rebuild our economy from below through additional spending power in the hands of the millions of poor people who currently cannot contribute to the economy.


Research presented today by Duma Gqubule shows 11 clear ways in which a universal Basic Income Grant of R1268 per person per month can be afforded, here and now.

The Constitution guarantees to every person the rights to Dignity and Equality, to sufficient food and social security - a decent standard of living.


“These demands have been put to the state in different forums for many months, but we have been told that there is no money”, said Isobel Frye, Director of Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute. “We have no option now but to make this a national demand. The campaign will include a litigation strategy so that the rule of law everyone talks of will be put to work for the millions of poor in this country.The litigation will be supported by a full campaign built on education, mass action and continued engagement with decision makers and a constant media platform to raise national participation.”


The BIG activists will meet again on Friday 23 July to launch their national strategy. “A BIG is necessary as a way of recognising the needs of all, of providing collective resourcing for meeting immediate needs and as a commitment to inclusive rebuilding of our nation in weeks and months to come”, said Seehaam Samaai, Director of Women’s Legal Centre. “The good will that has poured out to this initiative already is overwhelming. People want to start to rebuild. The BIG is the platform that can bind us together in our commonality in the midst of the divisions that have caused such pain and destruction”.




For further information please contact:


Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute 


Isobel Frye 



Mpho Mhlongo 

083 461 9713


Centre for Economic Development and Transformation 

Duma Gqubule 

084 081 4105


Women’s Legal Centre 

Seehaam Samaai 

083 384 3448