The Black Sash, ACESS and the Children’s Institute (UCT) welcome the commitment made by the new Social Development Minister to soon table a plan for the phased extension of the Child Support Grant to over two million children over the age of 15 years who remain trapped in poverty. (National Assembly, Vote 16, Friday 3 July 2009).
We are particularly delighted by Minister Edna Molewa’s stated intention that the extension of the grant to children over 15 will be implemented over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) cycle of three years. This will hopefully mean that the Child Support Grant will be extended to all vulnerable children under the age of 18 by the end of 2012.
However, we are keenly aware that this promise has been made a number of times before by both the ANC and the State. We would therefore urge Minister Molewa to provide us with concrete details of the implementation plan by promulgating draft regulations. We would also welcome the opportunity to contribute towards the final regulations.
The Black Sash, ACESS and the Children’s Institute, along with other civil society organisations, have campaigned intensively and tirelessly for over the past 15 years to realise the Constitutional Right of all our children to Social Assistance. We will not be satisfied until this promise is enshrined in law, and precise time-frames are set out for its implementation.
We would like to see a Child Support Grant that is provided without any conditions. We would also like to see the Minister's commitment supported by the required budget allocation.
Our own research, and indeed the government’s own studies, has clearly shown that the Child Support Grant has contributed significantly towards reducing child poverty, and is linked to a decrease in child hunger and child labour, and an increase in school attendance.
It has also demonstrated that poverty is a major cause of children over the age of 15 dropping out of school. As a society, we simply cannot afford to deny any of our children the lifeline that the Child Support Grant represents.
For more information contact:
Black Sash Advocacy Programme Manager
Cell: 082-429 4719
Child Rights Programme Manager
Children’s Institute, University of Cape Town
Cell: 083-412 4458
Cell: 073-062 2241
(Press release, Black Sash, ACESS, Children's Institute UCT, July 2009)