Following a controversial reply to a DA parliamentary question which saw the Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, stating that Social Grant beneficiaries should be able to survive on R753 per month and buy “adequate food” with “additional non-food items”, the Archbishop Emeritus Njongonkulu Ndungane made a clarion call for Minister Dlamini to quit her job.
Ndungane, who was the former Archbishop of Cape Town‚ now heads up the continent-wide organisation African Monitor that focuses on grassroots communities. He described Dlamini’s statement as ridiculous and an insult to the dignity of the people.
An agitated Ndungane said on Friday that;
“Minister Dlamini shows through this statement that she is completely out of touch with reality. Indeed‚ her remark is akin to the famous one by Marie Antoinette on the eve of the French Revolution who‚ when told there was no bread for the poor‚ dismissively told them to eat cake.”
He blatantly condemned the suggestion by Minister Dlamini, adding that the already bad condition the poor people have found themselves in have been heightened by the recent drought which had skyrocketed food prices to an unimaginable extent.
“Poor people have no spare capacity to absorb unexpected price increases. The options for people who are already living with less-than-full stomachs are to eat less‚ or sink even deeper into debt. Neither is a sustainable solution‚ and it is an insult for Minister Dlamini to even suggest that it is possible to live sustainably on this amount‚ never mind emphatically declare that it is‚” he said.
The archbishop cited a research by Standard Bank‚ which found that an alrming 62.3% of South African households struggle hard to survive as they are low-income earners‚ which they spend on food and other necessities.