EFF leader Julius Malema has called on the SA government to not do away with the unemployment income grant introduced to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 but rather increase it to R1,000 “if you want peace in this country”.
Malema was speaking during a Freedom Day online address on Monday.
He further called for the increases, introduced for the next six months in the old age grant and child-support grant, to be permanent and raised further.
Malema said the unemployment income grant, meant only for the next six months and set at R350, must be upped to R1,000 and continue beyond the Covid-19 crisis.
He suggested that the child grant be increased to R800 and the old age grant be topped up to R2,800.
President Cyril Ramaphosa last week announced increases to social grants for the next six months to counter the socio-economic impact of Covid-19.
Among these, he said, there would be an additional R300 allocated to the child support grant in May, while R500 would be added per caregiver from June until October.
All other grants, including the old age and disability grant, would see beneficiaries receiving an additional R250 per month from May until October. Unemployed South Africans would get a R350 basic income grant during the same period, Ramaphosa announced.
Malema believes these interventions must be sustained beyond the Covid-19 impact and be increased.
He did not say where the money would come from.
Said Malema: “Since our formation as the EFF we have called for the doubling of the social grants for all people in all grants that are provided by the state.
“We welcome the increase of all the social grants and the introduction of the basic income grant for all unemployed people.
“Our demand in this regard is simple, these increases must be made permanent. The old age grant must never be reduced and must instead be increased to R2,800 per month. The child-support grant must increased to be R800 per month. The basic income grant must not be reversed but must instead be increased to R1,000 per month.”
Malema said it was important to up the grants beyond the coronavirus pandemic to increase buying power and combat poverty.
This, he added, was the logical thing for government to do, “if you want peace in this country”.