*Update: The Department of Social Development replied in January to one of our tweets that the maternity support grant is under discussion and public comments were being finalised. We asked for more information about the public comment process but did not get a response. We will keep you updated as the campaign progresses.*
The future of children in Mzansi hangs in the balance. A quarter of children are stunted, which is caused by not eating enough nutritious food to promote the fetus’s growth and health . From conception to birth to the toddler years, children are vulnerable to stunting, which has consequences that will affect them for the rest of their lives. It impacts children’s ability to learn well and reach critical developmental milestones for their brains and bodies .
Pregnancy is an economically vulnerable time for most people . Those with limited or no income struggle to get nutritious food, access to health services and other forms of support necessary for a healthy pregnancy. Most times, they have to make choices between other necessities and pregnancy care. But it doesn’t have to be this way. In countries where governments provide financial support during pregnancy, it has been shown that it benefits a healthy pregnancy . People get motivated to visit healthcare facilities for antenatal care and feel empowered to make the right nutritional choices. In a country like Mzansi, where most low-income pregnant people rely on public transport to get to healthcare facilities, we must not undermine this benefit.
Providing pregnant people with a maternity support grant will significantly reduce the risk of stunting and other forms of malnutrition. We can do this by expanding the Child Support Grant to start at pregnancy. The grant will help expecting mothers access the nutrition and services needed to give children a chance to reach their full potential.
Dear Minister Lindiwe Zulu and Minister Tito Mboweni
A quarter of children in SA are stunted and face development challenges that affect their quality of life and prospects in the future. A maternity support grant will help pregnant women have the means to have beneficial nutritional and health support during pregnancy, to prevent these challenges. Some pregnancy complications are avoidable as they result from pregnant women not having the means for good care. You can help change the fate of children in SA by expanding the Child Support Grant to include pregnant people.
We can achieve this if we tax the rich. We call on you to Increase Personal Income Tax for those earning over R1 million annually from 1 April 2021. Also commit to introducing an annual net wealth tax at a higher rate of 3% for those with a wealth of more than R3.8 million, 7% for those with a wealth of more than R30 million and 9% for those with a wealth of more than R146 million and include it in the 2021 Rates and Monetary Amounts Bill to be implemented from 1 April 2022. The net wealth tax should be permanent and annual.
 Stunting – the silent killer of South Africa’s potential, Snikiwe Mqati for DGMT, November 2017
 South Africa’s child support grant should start in pregnancy, Matthew Cherisch and Sharon Fonn for Wits news, February 2017