As the ANC’s economic heavyweights arrive belatedly at the debate on the basic income grant (Big), we are starting to see pushback. Up to now, the Left academic lobby that has pushed for the grant for two decades has owned the terrain. Over the past three weeks, one could hardly tune into radio or television without hearing a Big proponent giving their uncontested view on why this is imperative.

In the past week we have had finance minister Tito Mboweni give his views on the dignity attached to work, asking whether grants should not be linked to a form of employment. And we have had the ANC head of economic transformation, Enoch Godongwana, writing in Business Day, raising the important question of the need for a national employment strategy (“We must balance growth interventions, job creation, social grants (”, July 29). Godongwana asked wheth...

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