First Thing, Daily Maverick's flagship newsletter

Join the 230 000 South Africans who read First Thing newsletter.

We'd like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick

More specifically, we'd like those who can afford to pay to start paying. What it comes down to is whether or not you value Daily Maverick. Think of us in terms of your daily cappuccino from your favourite coffee shop. It costs around R35. That’s R1,050 per month on frothy milk. Don’t get us wrong, we’re almost exclusively fuelled by coffee. BUT maybe R200 of that R1,050 could go to the journalism that’s fighting for the country?

We don’t dictate how much we’d like our readers to contribute. After all, how much you value our work is subjective (and frankly, every amount helps). At R200, you get it back in Uber Eats and ride vouchers every month, but that’s just a suggestion. A little less than a week’s worth of cappuccinos.

We can't survive on hope and our own determination. Our country is going to be considerably worse off if we don’t have a strong, sustainable news media. If you’re rejigging your budgets, and it comes to choosing between frothy milk and Daily Maverick, we hope you might reconsider that cappuccino.

We need your help. And we’re not ashamed to ask for it.

Our mission is to Defend Truth. Join Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

Lindiwe Zulu urged to introduce new child grant

South Africa


Lindiwe Zulu urged to introduce new child grant

Cash Paymaster Services has still not provided the documents needed to work out what profits it made from the contract with the South African Social Security Agency. (Archive photo: Barbara Maregele)

Civil society organisations suggest amendment to Social Assistance Act.

First published in GroundUp.

Civil society organisations have called on Minister Lindiwe Zulu to introduce a Child Support Grant top-up for orphans in the care of extended family.

They say this is a necessary step in addressing the foster care backlog and the increasing workload of social workers.

Draft amendments to the Social Assistance Act include a provision for the Minister to prescribe additional payments linked to a social grant on the basis of need. Another amendment includes the establishment of an Independent Tribunal to review appeals by grant recipients against the SA Social Security Agency (SASSA).

In a statement, the Children’s Institute, the Centre for Child Law, Child Welfare South Africa, the Children in Distress Network and the Black Sash have called on Zulu to introduce a top-up grant. The top-up grant is intended to help orphaned children whose carers get the Child Support Grant, but who do not have access to the foster child grant, either because they have not completed foster care applications (which can take up to three years) or because their foster care court order has expired. The Child Support Grant is about R450 and the foster child grant R1,040. The top-up grant would cover part of the difference.

Paula Proudlock of the Children’s Institute said the top-up grant would mean that extended family members caring for orphaned children would not have to wait years for foster care applications to be completed, but could go to SASSA directly.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, a foster care application would take a year to three years to be completed, with the holdup being mostly due to social workers’ workload.

“We don’t have enough social workers to process the large number of children in need of the foster care grant,” said Proudlock.

Zita Hansungule of the Centre for Child Law said many of the children applying for foster care were not in need of foster care, since they are living with extended family. But because the foster care grant was so much more, a number of these children were being placed in the foster care system. The top-up grant would allow these children to be removed from the foster care system, while also providing their extended family members to give them adequate care.

Social workers would then have more time to actually provide foster care services to children who are abused and neglected. She said that social workers often spent a lot of time on administrative work in order to extend hundreds of foster care orders.

The top-up grant will also reduce the risk of children in foster care losing their foster child grant every two years and getting stuck in a backlog of over 300,000 expired foster care court orders, according to Proudlock.

Social workers are required to check on foster care placements every two years – to write a report, go to court, and have the grant extended for another two years. “And that is where the backlog is,” she said.

If the court order expires after two years, then SASSA will not pay the foster child grant anymore, since a court order is required for payment.

Proudlock said that the top-up would only be effective if the regulations were not too strict, such as requiring relatives to provide proof of foster care that they could not provide. DM


Comments - share your knowledge and experience

Please note you must be a Maverick Insider to comment. Sign up here or sign in if you are already an Insider.

Everybody has an opinion but not everyone has the knowledge and the experience to contribute meaningfully to a discussion. That’s what we want from our members. Help us learn with your expertise and insights on articles that we publish. We encourage different, respectful viewpoints to further our understanding of the world. View our comments policy here.

No Comments, yet

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted