The ANC faces many difficult decisions at its December elective conference, but one of the least advertised will be whether it will expand social grants to include eligible people under the age of 22. In an environment where the ANC is rapidly losing the voting fodder that has propped up successive governments over the past 22 years, keeping supporters sweet will be at the top of the list of priorities, but doing so is becoming increasingly tricky. Aside from the scandal of the "irregularities" in the tender between the South African Social Security Agency and Cash Paymaster Services, social grants have always been the subject of debate due to their cost to the fiscus. This was especially true when it came to the expansion of coverage by introducing the child-support grant.The number of children who qualify for the grant has risen from 22,000 in 1998 to almost 12-million today as the age limit to qualify for a grant has been increased from six years at launch to 18 in 2012. In the p...

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