*Update: The Department of Social Development replied in January 2020 to one of our tweets that the maternity support grant is under discussion and public comments were being finalised. We will keep you updated as the campaign progresses.*
The future of our children hangs in the balance. A quarter of children in Mzansi suffer from stunting, which is caused by not eating enough nutritious food during pregnancy and the early years of life . 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 women . Those with limited or no income struggle to get nutritious food, access health services, and other forms of support necessary for a healthy pregnancy. Most times, they have to choose 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 to benefit a healthy pregnancy . Women are 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 women rely on public transport to healthcare facilities, we must not undermine this benefit.
Including pregnant women in the Child Support Grant would reduce the risk of stunting and other forms of malnutrition. Once pregnancy is confirmed, it would mean expecting mothers have some of the money they need to do things like buying nutritious food and travel to services needed.
Dear Minister Lindiwe Zulu and Minister Enoch Godongwana,
A quarter of children in SA are stunted and face development challenges that affect their quality of life and prospects in the future. Some pregnancy complications are avoidable due to pregnant women not having the means for good care. A Maternity Support Grant could change this and can be easily implemented by extending the existing Child Support Grant to begin when pregnancy is confirmed.
We call on the Department of Social Development to start public consultations, especially with those who will be most impacted, so that we can move a step closer to a maternity support grant.
We can fund extending the Child Support Grant by taxing the rich. We call on you to Increase Personal Income Tax for those earning over R1 million annually from 1 April 2023. Commit to introducing an annual net wealth tax higher and include it in the 2023 Rates and Monetary Amounts Bill to be implemented from 1 April 2023. 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