The Black Sash is cautiously upbeat about the above-inflation increase in social grants announced by finance minister Malusi Gigaba on Wednesday. "The fact that [treasury] attempted to mitigate the impact of the one percentage point increase in Vat is encouraging," says Hoodah Abrahams-Fayker. She says social grants remain a vital lifeline for 17m South Africans living in poverty. But she says it will take some time to determine if the increase will be sufficient to cover the combined effect of inflation and the 15% Vat rate. She also notes there is a large group of vulnerable people between the ages of 18 and 59 who do not have access to any social grants but will have to deal with the increased Vat. The DA’s Lindy Wilson is less impressed and says the budget once again proves the ANC government does not care for the poor and vulnerable. "We are disappointed in the 6.6% increase in child grants. Currently 135 children per month are dying of malnutrition-related diseases. The increa...

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