Separating myth from reality – a guide to social grants in South Africa by Africa Check

Kasi Economics

This article was first published by Africa Check, a non-profit fact-checking organisation (@AfricaCheck)


The number of social grants recipients in South Africa have increased exponentially over the past twenty years: from an estimated 4-million in 1994 to 16.3-million by 31 August last year. In recent years a growing chorus of voices have warned that the numbers are not sustainable.

Among them is President Jacob Zuma who said four years ago that government “cannot sustain a situation where social grants are growing all the time and think it can be a permanent feature”. Despite this, social spending has not decreased.

In fact, grant amounts have increased and ages of those who qualify have been extended. The Department of Social Development is currently considering extending the Child Support Grant (CSG) to age 23, partly because of the large number of child-headed households where older children take care of younger siblings.


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