Black Sash Media Statements

Black Sash calls on Social Development Minister to clear up confusion over child grants - BLACK SASH, 3 Feb 2010

BLACK SASH CALLS ON SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT MINISTER TO CLEAR UP CONFUSION OVER CHILD GRANTS

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, 3 February 2010

The Black Sash calls on Social Development Minister Edna Molewa to clear up the growing confusion amongst parents and her department’s officials over the new Child Support Grant regulations. Our national help line has received a growing number of calls over the past week from distressed and angry parents who mistakenly believed their needy children qualified following statements made by Minister Molewa. While it is true that Cabinet approved the extension of the Child Support Grant to 18, under the new regulations that came into effect on 1 January 2010, only those born on or after 1 October 1994 are eligible to apply. This means that all vulnerable children who turn 16 before October this year, or those who are already 16 or 17, are excluded from receiving the R240 monthly grant.  

Black Sash Advocacy Programme Manager Phelisa Nkomo says “although we are delighted with the promised extension of the grant to 18, we are deeply concerned that tens of thousands of vulnerable youngsters born at the dawn of our democracy in 1994 will continue to be excluded from the social protection they were promised under our Constitution. It is very difficult to explain to parents who call us for help that their children simply don’t qualify because they were born in the first nine months of 1994 and not the last three. And although the regulations say the grant has been extended to 18 years, this will only become a reality in 2012.” 

The Black Sash urges Minister Molewa to ensure that all employees who work for her department and SASSA (South African Social Security Agency) understand the new regulations thoroughly. ”We have received calls from social workers in her own department, asking us to explain how the extension of the grant works. It is a bit disheartening when the officials don’t even know what’s going on. They may well be rejecting or turning away eligible applicants simply because they are confused or misinformed,” says Nkomo.

The Black Sash would also like to remind parents and caregivers that under the new regulations, applicants should provide their most recent school report. Children not attending school still have the right to apply and receive the grant however, and should also claim the assistance of a social worker. You don’t even need an ID book or birth certificate for the child in order to apply, as long as you can provide an affidavit by a reputable person (such as a school principal) who knows you. Children who are heading households can also apply for the grant if they are over 16 and looking after younger siblings. Parents and caregivers whose children receive the grant are automatically exempt from paying school fees.

The Black Sash appeals to anyone who is having difficulty in applying for the Child Support Grant or school fee exemptions to please contact our NATIONAL HELPLINE on 072-66-33-739 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for FREE paralegal advice and support.

Read and print out the Black Sash ‘You and Your Rights’ information flyer on the Child Support Grant

Read and print out the Black Sash ‘You and Your Rights’ information flyer on School Fees

ENDS.

For interview requests, please contact:

Phelisa Nkomo

Black Sash Advocacy Programme Manager

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078-655 7774

www.blacksash.org.za

OR

Ratula Beukman

Black Sash Advocacy Programme Manager

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072-174 3507

www.blacksash.org.za

 

For more information, please contact:

Sarah Nicklin 
Black Sash Media Officer
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073-150 9525

www.blacksash.org.za