South Africa

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Basic Income Status Report 2007



In its latest Newsletter, USBIG indicates that South African newspapers report continued support for basic income in progressive organizations and at least discussion of the idea within the ruling ANC government. Archbishop Desmond Tutu has repeated his call for a basic income grant. According to the Times, Tutu said, "I hope our government can re-think the need for a basic income grant," in his address at the South African Council of Churches’ (SACC) triennial conference in Johannesburg. “Tutu said overseas research showed that once income grants were achieved, the health of children improved, their attendance at school rose and so did their achievement level,” The Times reported. According to the Mail & Guardian, SACC general secretary Eddie Makue said, "Grants are meant for the elderly, children and people with disabilities. It is imperative that we look at the basic income grant. It will make a difference in the lives of poor people."

According to Business Report, the basic income grant was “high on the agenda” of delegates as the ANC policy conference debated the issue, but according to the Independent on Line, more delegates felt that if there was to be income support, it had to be linked to "work activity" to avoid creating dependency. According to Business Report, public works minister Thoko Didiza said a basic income should now be given consideration by the government, but she also emphasized that whatever system was finally forged should be associated with job creation, by linking it to either a public or private works program. Although it is unlikely that the ANC will endorse a full basic income, branches have recommended that child grants be increased to the age of 18, according to SABC News. Child grants are essentially a Basic Income Grant for children.

According to Donwald Pressly, writing about the ANC conference for Business Report, “There was much focus on the need for a social wage and the need for ‘targeted interventions’ to support able-bodied but unemployed young adults through providing subsidies and grants, but which should be linked to creating long employment for the marginalized. There appears to be growing support in the movement for a basic income grant.”

Links :

The Times Article on Tutu’s speech:

Story on the ANC’s policy conference from the Independent on Line:

Story on the ANC’s policy conference from Business Report:

Story from SABC News:,2172,151107,00.html

Mail & Guardian Story:

Donwald Pressly’s article in Business Report: