The future of children in South Africa hangs in the balance. A quarter of children under 5 in South Africa are stunted, a condition caused by not eating enough food containing substances necessary for growth and health . From conception to birth, and the early 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 important 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 the right food, 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. Providing pregnant people with a maternity benefit grant can significantly reduce the risk of stunting, helping expecting mothers access the nutrition and services needed to give children a chance to reach their full potential.
In his SONA address, President Ramaphosa made commitments towards a South Africa that works for its children . A maternity benefit grant is one way to make this real, as it gives children the best chance of not being compromised by the economic conditions they are born into. Other areas like education, health and social development benefit when children are born healthy and thriving.
Stunting affects SA’s potential and should concern all who cares about a South Africa that thrives.
Dear Minister Lindiwe Zulu
A quarter of children in SA are stunted and face development challenges that affect their quality of life and future. A maternity benefit 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 are the result of pregnant women not having the means for good care. You can help change the fate of children in SA by giving their mothers a maternity benefit grant, and this will benefit the potential of the country.
 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
 Everything President Ramaphosa promised our children in his #SONA2019 speech, Bashiera Parker for Parent 24, July 2019