At the end of February, the increases for the disability and other social grants were announced for 2021/22. The announcement was met with backlash as the trade union federation, Cosatu, pointed out that the increases were less than inflation. The government was unapologetic about their approach.
Disability grants were increased by only 1,6 percent from R1 860 to R1 890. Inflation for 2021 is at 3,3 percent. To match inflation, the disability grants should have been increased by roughly R62 as opposed to only R30.
In its criticism of the decision, Cosatu explained that the failure to match the rate of inflation will mean beneficiaries of the grant will have less spending power as the price of goods climb. However, finance minister Tito Mboweni argued that there was no reason for the government to apologise. He stated: “There’s no need to be apologetic about it. There’s no social contract that says every year there must be x amount of increase, so there’s no need to be apologetic at all.”
He continued to explain that the increases were based on the budget allocated and what the department was able to afford.
The government is also expecting a further increase in the number of people who rely on social grants as the economy tries to recover from the lockdown in early 2020.