The Parliamentary Office works closely with other religious and secular civil society organisations around a number of campaigns, including:
Launched in November 2000 by the SACC, COSATU and SANGOCO, the People's Budget Campaign aims to stimulate public debate on economic and social policy; promote economic policies and programmes that fight poverty and unemployment; identify ways to finance additional public spending and investment; and create new opportunities for popular participation in the budget process. It publishes an annual People's Budget document to coincide with the Minister of Finance's Budget Speech in February. It also comments on other major aspects of the budget cycle and has published a study guide to the budget issues.
BASIC INCOME GRANT
One of the key intiatives called for in the People's Budget is a universal income support grant of not less than R100 per month payable to all South Africans and progressively recovered in part through the tax system. The SACC's National Conference endorsed the proposal in August 2001. This idea has won broad support in the past few years and has given rise to an independent campaign of which the SACC is part. In May 2002, the grant was strongly endorsed by the expert panel assembled by the government to recommend ways of fulfiling the constitutional obligation to ensure that all in South Africa enjoy social security. The BIG was the focus of the SACC's 2002 Christmas Campaign.
To subscribe to the BIG Coalition's monthly electronic newsletter, Masitye, please e-mail the editor, putting "subscribe" in the subject line.
Christmas Campaign materials:
- Overcoming Dependency with a BIG (9 December 2002)
- Is There An Effective Alternative to the BIG? (10 December 2002)
- Children, Extension of the CSG and the BIG (11 December 2002)
- The Administration and Delivery of a BIG (12 December 2002)
- Building a Decent Society (13 December 2002)
- Means Testing (4 February 2003)
- HIV/AIDS, Poverty and BIG (5 May 2003)
Recent addresses and research papers on the BIG:
- The Social and Economic Impact of South Africa's Social Security System, Economic Policy Research Unit, Report Commissioned by the Department of Social Development, September 2004
- "Breaking the Poverty Trap": Financing a Basic Income Grant in South Africa, BIG Financing Reference Group, March 2004 [PDF]
- Basic Income Grant: Cast the Net as Widely as Possible, excerpts from Prof. Jeremy Seekings' Inaugural Lecture, University of Cape Town, 23 April 2003
- Unraveling Chronic Poverty in South Africa: Some Food for Thought, Cobus de Swardt, PLAAS, Paper for the Chronic Poverty Research Center International Conference, University of Manchester, 7-9 April 2003
- Combatting Poverty: South Africa's BIG Challenge, Neil Coleman, COSATU Parliamentary Office, Harold Wolpe Lecture Series, IDASA, 15 February 2003 (PowerPoint format)
- The Basic Income Grant: Poverty, Politics and Policy-making, Ravi Naidoo, NALEDI, Harold Wolpe Lecture Series, University of Natal, 31 October 2002
- Poverty Relief through Social Grants in South Africa: There is No Alternative, Charles Meth, University of Natal, Paper to the UCT Development Policy Research Unit conference on Labour Markets and Poverty in South Africa, 22-24 October 2002 (PDF format)
- A Targeted and Affordable South African Universal Income Grant, Pieter le Roux, University of the Western Cape, Paper to the UCT Development Policy Research Unit conference on Labour Markets and Poverty in South Africa, 22-24 October 2002 (PDF format)
- Legitimizing Basic Income in Developing Countries, Address by Brazilian Senator Eduardo Suplicy at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, 28 August 2002
- Transforming the Present - Protecting the Future, Consolidated Report of the Committee of Inquiry into a Comprehensive System of Social Security for South Africa [Taylor Committee] (PDF format; chapters listed separately under "May"; see especially Chapter 5, which deals with the Basic Income Grant)
- Research Review on Social Security Reform and the Basic Income Grant for South Africa, Michael Samson et. al, Economic Policy Research Institute Research Report #31, 21 January 2002
South Africa's democratic government has been systematically streamlining and modernising tax policy. In 2000, Parliament enacted wide-ranging changes to tax laws affecting non-profit organisations, including churches. The SACC Parliamentary Office has co-ordinated a contact group of finance officers and other interested officials from religious institutions to encourage broad discussion, united action and improved communication on tax matters. The SACC also links with the broader NGO community through interaction with the Non-Profit Partnership and participation in the South African Revenue Service's working group on public benefit organisations.