Over 5 000 top-up child support grants processed

Thursday, August 25, 2022

The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) has confirmed that over five thousand Child Support Grant (CSG) Top-Up applications were processed by the end of July 2022.

This was revealed by the Department of Social Development and the South African Social Security Agency during their appearance before the Portfolio Committee on Social Development on Wednesday, to update members of the committee on the progress made on the Child Support Grant Top-Up and the Foster Child Grant.

The two organisation also explained the difference between the two provisions, which are considered an important instrument of the social assistance programme in the country.

The CSG Top Grant started operating as of 1 June 2022 and introduced a higher value for the Child Support Grant (CSG) which is R480, plus and additional amount of R240, bring the total amount to R720 per month for orphans in the care of relatives and does not need a court order to access it.  

The introduction of the CSD Top-Up grant is part of the department’s efforts to have a permanent, comprehensive legal solution for foster care.

Director: Children and Family Benefits in the department, Dr Maureen Mogotsi, informed members of the committee that the provision forms part of the social assistance programme for children, and seeks to ensure that income poverty is eliminated through a more transparent process, which targets orphans in the care of relatives and orphans in child-headed households.

Highlighting the difference between the CSG Top-Up and the Foster Child Grant, Mogotsi said the CSG Top-Up is not a new grant, but builds on the existing Child Support Grant. 

She pointed out that the primary objective of the Child Support Grant is to ensure that primary caregivers of children living in extreme poverty can access financial assistance to supplement household income, whereas the Foster Child Grant ensures that children who are in need of care and protection are well taken care of by the State.

“Therefore, the Child Support Grant Top-Up does not replace the Foster Child Grant. The Foster Child Grant is provided for children who have been placed in the foster care system and can be extended until they are 21 years old if they are in school (tertiary education) and this can be granted through a court order.

“Children who qualify for the Foster Child Grant should be declared to be in need of care and support by a court of law. All orphans already in the foster care system will remain based on the court orders, because it is constitutionally regressive to take the provision away from children who are already receiving it,” Mogotsi explained.

Mogotsi said that the department does not intend to remove orphans already in the foster care system when they come up for their two-yearly review before the courts.

“There is a transitional clause in the Children’s Amendment Bill that is before the committee, which ensures the magistrates in the Children’s Court have a legal authority to extend the Foster Care Order.”

Over 13 million beneficiaries on child grants 

Mogotsi said children's grants are the largest provision of South Africa’s social assistance programme, as it covers over 13 million beneficiaries and is regarded as government’s most successful social protection intervention.

Responding to the committee members’ concerns on how the information on the Top-Up Grant reaches communities, Mogotsi said the department makes use of consultations, online platforms and radio campaigns to reach as many people as possible.

“Most recently, we were in the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal,” said Mogotsi.

The Portfolio Committee welcomed the department’s presentation and emphasised the importance of communicating on the CSG Top-Up Grant by educating social workers and communities. – SAnews.gov.za