There is a groundswell of opinion pushing for the introduction of a basic income grant (BIG) in SA. Given the devastation wrought by the pandemic, the case has never been more compelling. Unfortunately, SA’s public finances have also never been weaker.

A proxy battle for the BIG played out at the end of April, when the government failed to extend the special Covid relief grant. It had until then plugged the gap in SA’s welfare net by providing 6.9-million unemployed adults (aged 18-59) with R350 a month...

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