Last week President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the  government would reintroduce the social relief of distress grant, which entitles unemployed adults not receiving an income or social grant to get R350 a month from the state. This is a far cry from the R585 a month national food poverty line, the minimum proposed by advocates for a basic income grant (BIG).

Finance minister Tito Mboweni said in a subsequent media conference that a BIG is something that needs to be debated. And Business Day’s Carol Paton reported that an expert panel has been convened to consider the various proposed BIG levels and their funding options. From her reporting, it sounds as if the panel is not debating if we should do this, but how...

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