The basic income grant (BIG) is a periodic cash transfer that is unconditional and permanent, and paid to all individuals in society. As a social security measure, the BIG is a necessary means to enhance income security for all through the redistribution of wealth generated by all. Thus, the BIG is not just a means for fighting poverty and reducing inequality, but it is also an economic stimulus that increases the purchasing power of a country’s population through direct unconditional cash transfers.
However, the BIG remains a very contentious concept in research and policy circles. Triggered by the humanitarian and socio-economic crisis exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, conversations around the BIG have received renewed momentum over the last two years. In South Africa specifically, 2021 has seen a stronger appetite for BIG even among policy makers. This comes at the back of numerous pilot studies that have been carried out over the past few decades across the world to test various policy variables around the BIG and its
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