Press Release: Civil Society Forges Plan Toward A Basic Income Grant of R1,268 For All

Press Release: Civil Society Forges Plan Toward A Basic Income Grant of R1,268 For All





We demand that the state  provides a universal basic income grant of R1 268 to help the 13 million people currently facing starvation in South Africa.


CAPE TOWN: Responding to on-going social tensions, three leading social justice organisations are coordinating an urgent meeting this Friday to forge a multi-pronged national demand for the unconditional commitment to a universal basic income grant (BIG) in South Africa of R12 68 per person per month to be introduced within 12 months with the immediate reintroduction of the R350 Special Covid Grant and the R500 monthly Caregivers grant.


Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute, Black Sash and the Women’s Legal Centre are hosting the emergency strategy meeting in support of a national BIG, a monthly grant that would be paid to all, ensuring that no one who needs assistance falls outside. The grant would be clawed back from the wealthy through tax adjustments.


The strategy will include a mass mobilisation campaign and constitutional litigation to ensure that the constitutional rights to equality and dignity, sufficient food and social security are made real for the millions of people that appear to be surplus to the priorities of the state. R1,268 is a bare minimum and nowhere near what is actually required for a decent standard of living.  


Speaking before the meeting, Isobel Frye of Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute says: “We believe that the rule of law is not an intangible principle. The rule of law must put bread on people’s tables, and be used to provide warmth, security and well-being. The rule of law cannot be exclusively  about protecting people’s vested property. In this most unequal of countries the law needs to champion the fair distribution of the wealth in South Africa.”


Against a backdrop of continuing national unrest and the COVID-19 pandemic, this coalition of civil society organisations will seek to draw attention to the plight of the 13 million people living in deepening starvation in South Africa, three million of whom are children.


Social justice and civil society movements have repeatedly met with state organs and presented empirical evidence about the impact of poverty. Malnutrition and stunting lead to permanent cognitive disabilities and have dire mental health impact, as seen in the NIDS-CRAM data released to the state last week. 


In light of the fact that the R350 Covid Social relief of Distress Grant, paid to just under 7 million people came to an end in April 2021, and the Caregiver’s grant that provided a small top up into households where poor children lived came to a stark end in October 2020, this coalition of organisations unapologetically demands a universal basic income grant of R1 268 paid to all those in need and funded through blended financing options.


More information will be released after the meeting, to be held on 16 July 2021. Visit SPII’s website for more information and research on universal basic income grants






Isobel Frye

Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute

084 508 1271


Black Sash