Stop corruption and tax the rich to implement the UBIG.
“The SRD grants were introduced as short-term relief but drew over 7 million of the unemployed who applied for it. It became clear that it is a priority for the possibility of fighting for the alleviation of inequality and poverty. But at the end of April 2020, the state then terminated the SRD.“
The Universal Basic Income Guarantee/ Grants (UBIG), is interpreted in many ways across the globe. Around 2002, in South Africa it was to be introduced as the job seeking grant, while others were arguing for it to be a living income grants.
While most countries currently have introduced some social relief programmes as a way of fighting socio-economic crisis that they are faced with, up to date, globally and in South Africa, there’s no clear direction on how a permanent UBIG can be implemented due to the political unwillingness of the ruling party.
UBIG is an important social reform to fight high inequality and poverty levels that millions of working class communities are subjected to.
South Africa is a leading country when it comes to high inequality, unemployment and poverty rates. These numbers are skyrocketing daily with no end in sight. And now, they are accelerated by the pandemic. In mid-2020, as a short-term social relief, South Africa introduced the Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant, to assist millions of the poor that are at the forefront of suffering the pandemic-induced crisis which is poverty and job loss.
The SRD grants were introduced as short term relief but drew over 7 million of the unemployed who applied for it. It became clear that it is a priority for the possibility of fighting for the alleviation of inequality and poverty. But at the end of April 2020, the state then terminated the SRD.
The termination of the SRD invoked many grassroots activists, social movements and progressive trade union to organise against the decision taken by the state.
In working class struggles the main thing and issue is the fight for the full implementation of the UBIG for all who are still earning a poverty wage (below R12 500), as was indicated by the Marikana mine workers in 2012. The UBIG will compliment, boost and assist all of those employed but on poverty wages and take care of their families and relatives who are unemployed and all of the unemployed working class communities. It must be provided unconditionally and without any means testing.
The UBIG is a unifying tool that can bring some peace to the millions who are facing the toughest conditions in life, but it won’t solve all the miseries, pains and sorrows the working class communities still succumb to in their daily struggles. In the recent shocking statistics it indicated that around 11.9 million people in South Africa are unemployed, with 2.2 million being the youth, and worryingly, 40% of the overall 11.9 million are women who were unfairly discriminated against in the first round of this SRD grant.
Austerity measures are a threat and attack to the working class communities and the poor, as it is making a living and surviving a struggle. Cutting social amenities, livelihoods and services for many people will be another disaster.