The manner in which popular discourse has framed jobs and grants as competing strategies has led to near consensus that any expansion of the latter would lead to an economic catastrophe. But an empowerment grant, set at the food-poverty line (R547 a month) and paid to all able-bodied persons earning below the upper-bound poverty line, might actually put our economy on a growth path, while creating much needed meaningful work. Currently, 9.6-million adults are unemployed and the median wage for those black South Africans “lucky enough” to find a job in 2016 was a mere R2,600 a month. A shocking figure considering that in April 2018, according to the Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy, a four-member household requires a monthly income of about R7,823 to buy basic food stuff (if 35% of the total expenditure is allocated to food). It is also unlikely that this situation will improve as we find ourselves in a position where small businesses are closing down and shedding jobs and lar...

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