Proposed Family Poverty Grant is excellent in theory — but there are problems with its implementation

Image: Nattanan Kanchanaprat on Pixabay.

With the current R350 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) Grant due to come to an end in March 2022, the media has suggested that National Treasury is in favour of replacing it with a new household-targeted “Family Poverty Grant”. A SALDRU report for National Treasury (discussed in our lead article this month) showed that, in theory, the Family Poverty Grant is highly efficient in terms of extreme poverty reduction.

However, in this Daily Maverick article by Ihsaan Bassier and Josh Bundlender, the authors explain that choosing the policy on this basis is based on an incomplete reading of the report. The Family Poverty Grant faces serious implementation hurdles which will be difficult to resolve. In addition, the theoretical efficiency advantage of the Family Poverty Grant is especially sensitive to implementation errors, and in practice its efficiency performance may be more like the SRD or Basic Income Grant options. There are also possible adverse sociological consequences of a new family-targeted grant, and it is not clear that a narrow focus on “efficiency” is an appropriate basis for social policy in any case. Read the full article. Following the publishing of this article, Ihsaan was also interviewed on this topic by John Maytham of Cape Talk. Listen to the interview.