This, as Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, tabled the 2016 Budget Speech on Wednesday.
“A new early child development conditional grant has been created and an additional R813 million allocated over the medium term expenditure framework (MTEF) period to implement the Cabinet-approved ECD strategy.
“The funds provide subsidies for more poor children to attend ECD centres and support related capital maintenance programmes,” Treasury said.
In his budget speech, Minister Gordhan said in taking the comprehensive social security agenda forward, South Africa has to recognise that existing social security arrangements are fragmented, which raises costs and leaves several social needs unaddressed.
“Minister Dlamini and I have a shared responsibility for the social security reform programme, which has to draw on both international good practice and interdepartmental work of recent years,” the Minister said.
In its Budget Review, Treasury said that about 104 000 children will be subsidised through the new grant over the medium term and 4 000 ECD centres will benefit from the programme.
To further address social security, an additional R166 million has been allocated to substance abuse inpatient centres in the North West, Northern Cape, Free State and the Eastern Cape.
These funds allow for each province to have at least one such public facility fully operational by 2017/18.
Allocations of R11.5 billion over the MTEF period have been added to the budget for social assistance. The additional funds provide for inflation-linked adjustments to grant values, and the growth in the number of beneficiaries, primarily those receiving old age pension and child support grants.
Meanwhile, Treasury said that beneficiary numbers in these categories are growing as the aged population increases each year and child mortality rates decline.
The old age grant is set to increase by R80 per month in April 2016 and a further R10 in October 2016. The child support grant increases by R20 per month in April 2016.