22 January 2009
Social Development Minister Zola Skweyiya has urged indigent parents who have children under the age of 15, and who qualify, to apply for child support grants.
People who qualify for the child support grant include families and couples with an income of less than R4 600 and single parents earning less than R2 300 a month.
In a statement this week, Skweyiya said that the Cabinet had last year decided to extend the grant to children aged 15, as part of the government’s effort to tackle child poverty and to shield the poor from the effects of the global economic meltdown.
He said the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) started processing applications for children up to the age of 15 years as from 2 January 2009, and by 15 January 2009, a total of 8 421 applications for children aged 14 years had already been taken and processed.
“I appeal to all the parents and care givers to immediately register their children,” Skweyiya said, reminding qualifying citizens that even if they do not have Identity Documents, they must go to SASSA offices where they would get assistance of R230 per month.
Grants: a lifeline for many
A recent study which examined the use of the child support grants in poor households found that child support grants played a vital role in enabling caregivers to access food of sufficient nutritional quality and variety to meet the needs of their children.
The study also reviewed the application process and implementation of the grant from the perspective of those receiving the grant, released in October last year.
The study, conducted by Unicef, targeted caregivers of children up to the age of 13 in low income areas, and noted that the grant acted as a lifeline for many households in the face of high levels of unemployment.
On average the child support grant accounted for 40% of reported household income.
Most vulnerable groups
The child support grant was targeted the most vulnerable groups, including those with limited access to basic services and disadvantaged groups, with the recipients being primarily women with lower levels of education than those who are not eligible for the grant.
This was linked to levels of prosperity, as those living in poverty were more likely to have lower levels of education, which in turn made them less likely to find employment and income generation opportunities.
The study further revealed that children in homes receiving child support grants were more likely to attend a creche or preschool than children of the same age group who were not receiving the grant.