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Universal Basic Income Coalition Position Paper

The introduction of the COVID-19 SRD grant in 2020 galvanised civil society to work together to advance the goal of comprehensive social protection. In March 2021, civil society stakeholders came together in a forum to collectively advocate for the extension of the grant when it was due to terminate at the end of April 2021. The group sought:
● An extension of the SRD grant.
● An increase of the value of the SRD grant to at least the food poverty line (FPL).
● An extension of the eligibility criteria, with emphasis on allowing those who receive the
child support grant (CSG) on behalf of their children to also receive the SRD.
● Action to fix administrative inefficiencies including in the appeals process as well as the
use of outdated verification databases.
● More effective communications with applicants and beneficiaries.
● Urgent implementation of the long overdue Basic Income Grant (BIG) for those aged 18 to 59 years with little to no income as part of a pathway towards a Universal Basic Income Grant (UBIG).

Within the forum of civil society stakeholders, it was acknowledged that there are various proposals for a BIG and modalities for how government should work towards this. The forum identified that the BIG must be progressively increased to match at the very least, the upper-bound poverty line (UBPL), currently R1,558. So far, the collective has been instrumental in securing the extension of the SRD grant, as well as access to the grant for child support grant recipients and an increase in the income-eligibility threshold. 

The following position paper lays out the context for our demands and outlines the crisis we find ourselves in, which necessitates urgent action to extend a social protection floor to everyone. We also detail our specific demands for how basic income support should be implemented in South Africa. 

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