CAROL PATON: Basic income grant is laden with risk for the future
A dedicated new state revenue stream will have to be found, but the opportunities are few and far between
In the aftermath of the violence, which brought home SA’s inequalities in an immediate and frightening way, it is morally hard to argue against a small income grant to the unemployed. The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have been brutal: 2.2-million jobs were lost in the first hard lockdown, with only 1-million of those having bounced back a year later. People are hungry and desperate — that is abundantly clear.
Since the February budget was tabled tax revenue has surprised to the upside. Citi head of research Gina Schoeman says she has pencilled in R100bn in overruns by next February, the way things look now. This makes payments to 6-million unemployed (the number who successfully registered last time) and another 3.5-million caregivers (those confirmed unemployed) until the end of the fiscal year, achievable within the fiscal framework at R26.6bn...