The SA Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini says there would be no need for an increase in the amount paid as social grants as South Africans can live on R753 for an entire month.
This was stated in her reply to the call by the Democratic Alliance (DA) for an additional stipends to be made available for social grant beneficiaries in order to enable them take care of their basic needs such as food and other personal items.
The DA on Wednesday, called on South Africans to sign the DA’s petition to be handed over to the department of social development, to pressure the government to increase welfare grants, saying the hikes announced by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan in the 2016 budget were negligible.
But in reply to this, the SA Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini said this is not necessary as only the national Treasury and the South African Social Security Agency is fit to make any increase. Moreover, that R753 is just good enough to cater for a South African citizen for a month.
As a cabinet minister, Dlamini earns as much as R2.3 million annually – R191,000 per month and going by Wits researchers calculations, the estimated cost of essential food and non-food items needed to survive at R1,319 for a single person – and R5,276 for a household of four in South Africa.
Reacting to this, the DA shadow minister of social development, Bridget Masango, who was furious at the moment, referred to the assertions by the SA minister as “deeply insensitive and completely untrue” especially when considering the rising food prices due to the drought and other factors.
“To this end, I challenge Minister Dlamini to join me, as soon as possible, on a trip to the shops to test her claim that R753 can buy ‘adequate’ food and other essential items. I will, today, issue a written invitation to the minister to accompany me,” Masango said.
“This uncaring response demonstrates yet again just how much the ANC has changed. The ANC governs like black lives don’t matter, more concerned with benefiting from state resources than helping those most in need.”
Stats SA’s latest report on the financial statistics of national government provided some insights into how much government spends on social grants.
The report says Sixteen million South Africans rely on social grants which is an indication that many people in the country are not able to fend for themselves and therefore find themselves depending on the state.
It is on this ground that the DA said it has tried to amend the budget to increase provision for social grants. “The fact that the ANC voted it down proved that they don’t have the poor’s best interest at heart,” Masango said.
However, Stats SA report further revealed that the number of households receiving at least one form of social grant rose from 29.9% of the population in 2003 to 44.3% in 2010, and to 45.5%in 2015.
This means that for every R100 national government spends on social grants, R42 goes to family and children grants; R41 goes to old age grants; and R16 goes to sickness and disability grants.