The South African government has been urged to introduce a special grant to assist parents with the cost of preparing their children for the new school year.
The Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity (PMBEJD) group argues that current measures, such as the National Minimum Wage and social grants, are insufficient to help the majority of the population due to the rising cost of living in the country. The group suggests that a “back to school” grant would provide a targeted investment in education and alleviate some of the financial pressures on parents.
In addition, the PMBEJD claims that the National Minimum Wage should be increased based on projected inflation for the coming year and should aim to progressively improve the wages of low-paid workers. The government is facing pressure to introduce new grants or increase current ones to help South Africans cope with high levels of inflation.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and related lockdowns in South Africa in 2020, the country has experienced high levels of inflation. Inflation, which is the rate at which the general level of prices for goods and services is rising, and subsequently, purchasing power is falling, has been driven by a range of factors.
These include supply chain disruptions due to the pandemic, increases in the price of fuel, and rising food costs due to droughts and other natural disasters.
The high levels of inflation have put financial pressure on many South Africans, who are struggling to make ends meet. This has led to calls for the government to introduce measures to assist those affected, such as the “back to school” grant proposed by the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity (PMBEJD) group.