Finance minister Tito Mboweni has given with one hand and taken away with the other, allocating R2.1bn in the budget for a three-month extension of the special Covid-19 social relief of distress grant but failing to increase welfare grants in line with inflation for the first time in more than a decade.

In a move set to increase hardship among SA’s poorest households, the Treasury has allocated increases to the welfare grants that do not keep pace with inflation, which it estimates will be 3.9% in 2021/2022...

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