Johannesburg Child Welfare welcomes the provision in the National Budget for the extension of the Child Support Grant to impoverished children aged between 16 and 18 years. This is a long-awaited development that will enable a large number of young people to complete their schooling, instead of dropping out early and falling into dangerous methods of survival such as crime, prostitution and other "worst forms" of child labour.
We are, however, very disappointed that Minister Gordhan mentioned no plan to improve state funding of non-profit organisations (NPOs) serving children and other vulnerable groups. We have a new Children's Act which is designed to greatly improve the safety and well-being of South Africa's children, but it will be impossible to implement it unless the welfare organisations on which government relies to carry out most of the required services are properly supported. We appeal to the Minister to give proper attention to the needs of these organisations, which are in crisis all over the country.
Social grants are, of course, crucial to the battle against poverty, but they must be properly balanced with developmental, protective and supportive services to children, families and communities. This call has been made for many years but is still going unheeded.
Johannesburg Child Welfare