South African government is considering increasing child and pension grants temporarily.

A campaign to persuade the government to increase child and old persons’ grants by R500 for 6 months has received 557,707 out of a target of 600,000 signatures.

Currently, beneficiaries of child support grants receive R445, while the old-age pension grant beneficiaries receive R 1,860 per month.

NGOs and academics have asked the government to increase the child-support grant by R500 a month for the next six months.

The government is considering the request of the social welfare grants to increase to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Yes, I can confirm that we are looking at adjusting temporarily the child-support grant and old-age pension grant,” finance minister Tito Mboweni said on Tuesday.

Mboweni was addressing journalists about interventions made by the National Treasury to help in limiting the economic impact of the virus.

He said a firm position would be taken on Wednesday, but indicated that people tended to gravitate towards the old-age grant.

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet met on Wednesday to consider several economic proposals to deal with the Coronavirus pandemic.

A group of NGOs and academics wrote to Ramaphosa last week calling for an immediate R500-a-month increase to the child-support grant for six months.

“This measure is critical to mitigate the devastating impact of Covid-19 on children, families and the economy. Currently, the child support grant is the simplest, quickest and most effective way to get cash into millions of poor households that will otherwise face food insecurity and debilitating poverty,” they said.

They estimated that food poverty rates for households relying on income from informal labour trading could more than double over the three weeks of the lockdown. They added that as the depth of poverty increased, more people would go hungry – including millions of children.

Reducing hunger, economic strengthening will be protecting women and children.