Just under half of the SA population gets a grant from the government — a staggering figure that includes 10.5-million recipients of the Covid social relief of distress grant, which was introduced in 2020. The continuation of that R350 a month grant will add R44.4bn to the government’s spending in the 2022/2023 financial year.

Though this is a hefty top-up to the government’s social grant bill, by far the largest part of that bill continues to be the 18.4-million beneficiaries of other social grants — primarily old-age and child-support grants. It means that in all, spending on social grants in 2022/2023 will increase to an unprecedented R364.4bn, equivalent to 3.9% of GDP...

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