The Child Support Grant as a Poverty Alleviation Strategy in South Africa
Child Support Grant (CSG) was introduced in 1998 with the phasing out of the State Maintenance Grant. This was one of the programmes put in place by the government to redress the imbalances of the past and to alleviate poverty. This programme is part of the Social Assistance Programme within the auspices of the Social Security System.
The CSG as is currently implemented raises a great deal of controversy and lots of questions as to its viability as a poverty reduction strategy. The amount given to recipients (R200) is said to be very minimal to bring about change in the standard of living of recipients. As a result of this, there is general believe that the money is basically not used for maintenance of children, but used by caregivers for their own personal use. The other view to CSG is the assumption that it perpetuates dependency and encourages young people to make more children. The issue of dependency is nested in the lack of capacity building within the programme. This is based on the rationale that money is dished out for immediate use without preparation for the future development of the recipient to cater for the child. This can be equated to the old Chinese say of ‘Give a man fish and he will be hungry tomorrow, but if you teach him to fish he will be able to sustain himself for the rest of his life.’ The workshop will focus on sharing the results of the study and encouraging imput from other countries.
Keywords: Child Support Grant, Poverty, Poverty Alleviation
Dr. Lulama Qalinge
Associate Professor, Department of Social Work