The study investigates to what extent would the introduction of the Basic Income Grant (BIG) address poverty in South Africa. The BIG, which was recommended by a government led Taylor Committee of Inquiry into a Comprehensive System of Social Security for South Africa in 2002, is recommended as one of the most likely strategies through which the high poverty levels could be mitigated. Exponents of the BIG argue that this far reaching policy is desperately needed to rid South Africa’s communities of poverty. However, critics argue that the introduction of the BIG would be unaffordable, unsustainable and would increase dependency on the state. The study presents three case studies. The first case study gives an overview of poverty in South Africa. It asserts that an estimated 15.4 million people are still living in poverty. The second case study provides a general idea of the current social protection system. It examines how the current system has performed its function of addressing poverty. The third case study examines the possibility of introducing the BIG in South Africa and considers the arguments presented by its proponents as well as its critics. The study further evaluates the different options which could be utilised to finance the implementation of the basic income grant. The potential impact of the grant is scrutinised, and specific attention is focused on its possible social and economic impact. The impact of the current government anti-poverty programmes to alleviate income, asset and human capital poverty is considered briefly. The study concludes that the current social security programmes are reasonable as a supplement to the anti-poverty initiatives; however because of the continuing inequality in our country it also accepts that the social security system needs to be improved in order to close the existing gaps. Copyright
Dissertation (MAdmin)--University of Pretoria, 2010.