Beneficiaries urged to use grants wisely

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Pretoria – President Jacob Zuma has urged beneficiaries of social grants to use them in a responsible manner.

“No one is allowed to misuse social grant income, which is intended to improve the living conditions of intended beneficiaries,” said President Zuma.

He was speaking at a celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) on Tuesday in Kranskop, KwaZulu-Natal.

SASSA, an agency of the Ministry of Social Development, was established in terms of the Social Assistance Act 13 of 2004 to provide comprehensive social security services to eligible poor and vulnerable South African citizens. The agency runs South Africa's social assistance programme, one of the country's most effective and extensive poverty alleviation programmes.

The 10-year celebrations are an opportunity for government to assess progress made since SASSA’s inception and also to have direct interaction with social grant beneficiaries.

During the 10 years of SASSA’s existence, government has contributed largely to breaking the cycle of poverty through the provision of Social Relief of Distress (SRDs). These includes the provision of school uniform to children from the most impoverished families throughout the country. 

“We are proud to mention that these school uniforms are produced by local women-owned cooperatives, which create work opportunities for women in various communities. The department also procures most of its basic services such as food, directly from women-owned cooperatives in the rural communities,” President Zuma said. 

He said the empowerment of cooperatives is in line with the Nine-Point Plan, which he pronounced during the 2015 State of the Nation Address.  

“We came up with the Nine-Point Plan to respond to the sluggish economic growth in the country. Among the key elements of the Nine-Point Plan is the need to unlock the potential of SMMEs, cooperatives, township and rural enterprises.

“This is indeed one of the initiatives which seek to improve the living conditions of the poor and unemployed South Africans, and ensure that they are directly linked to economic opportunities. This is made possible through Social Development’s outreach programmes to communities, which help to address social ills through Project Mikondzo,” said President Zuma.

Project Mikondzo is a Social Development service delivery initiative which seeks to increase the department’s footprint in the most impoverished communities of South Africa.

17 million beneficiaries

Recent statistics revealed that more than 17 million South Africans are receiving social grants from SASSA, which addresses the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality.

SASSA spends more than R11 283 709 075 monthly to improve the living conditions of the poor.

Nineteen-year-old social grant beneficiaries, who are still studying, also qualify for child support grant extension. More than 11 million children are currently benefit from the child support grant.

The department has also been able to reach more than 10 million people with disabilities, 230 war veterans, as well as more than three million older persons, who are now receiving social grants. 

More than 493 000 children are under the foster care grant system.

The SASSA 10-year anniversary celebrations were launched at Dan Qeqe Stadium in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape. The President said the plan is to celebrate with South Africans from all nine provinces. –     

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