R500 bn has been set aside for pensioners and others reliant on social grants.
Pensioners and others reliant on social grants were given an increase in their monthly allocation after Finance Minister Tito Mboweni announced that the government had set aside more than R500 billion for this.
Mboweni delivered his maiden budget speech on Wednesday, where he outlined the National Budget for the current financial year.
“In the fight against poverty and inequality, Government has allocated R567 billion for social grant payments. In 2019, the grant values will increase as follows, R80 increase for old age, disability, war veterans and care dependency grants.
“R40 increase for the foster care grant to R1 000. The child support grant will increase to R420 in April and to R430 in October,” said Mboweni.
The SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) is currently grappling with how to pay out grants to more than 17 million beneficiaries, after having to change service providers.
The contract between Sassa and Cash Paymaster Service (CPS) expired last year. Sassa has since led the process of migrating grants beneficiaries to the post office.
The EFF called for Mboweni to announce the doubling of social grants for the poor and reverse VAT from 15 per cent to 14 per cent.
Treasury expects the number of social grant beneficiaries to reach 18.1 million by the end of 2019.
Mboweni also announced that no members of Parliament and provincial legislatures and executives at public entities will receive a salary increase this financial year.
He said national and provincial departments would be phasing out the payment of performance bonuses to civil servants over the next four years‚ which amounted to R2bn per year.
“The first step is to allow older public servants who want to do so, to retire early and gracefully. This will save an estimated R4.8 billion in 2019/20, R7.5 billion in 2020/21 and R8 billion in 2021/22.
“In time this will be complemented by limits on overtime and bonus payments as well as pay progression. The system of staffing our diplomatic missions is unjustified and should be reviewed urgently,” said Mboweni.
Government has also allocated funds to assist first time home buyers. Funding totalling R14.7 billion over the two outer years has been reprioritised to two new conditional grants for upgrading of informal settlements which will enable these households to have access to basic amenities.
“Our Help to Buy subsidy helps first-time home buyers purchase a home. As a pilot, it gets R950 million over three years,” said Mboweni.