Measures to protect social grant beneficiaries from loan sharks

Thursday, March 1, 2018

President Cyril Ramaphosa says government will work on finalising measures to prevent loan sharks from preying on social grant beneficiaries.

The President said while land and food security will also be issues of priority in the period ahead, government will soon consult traditional leaders over the Mining Charter to ensure that their views and concerns are considered as moves are made to finalise a reviewed charter in the next three months.

He said this shortly after traditional leaders held a debate in the Old Assembly Chamber on his address to the House on Tuesday.

After a debate that saw traditional leaders from various parts of the country raising issues that affect their communities – from education and health to land reform and lack of resources for traditional authorities – the President said he was committed to work with traditional authorities to tackle their challenges and concerns.

He said, for instance, that newly-appointed Minister of Social Development Susan Shabangu would look into introducing measures aimed at protecting social grant beneficiaries from being targeted by loan sharks.

“She [Minister Shabangu] is going to make sure that social grants are paid to our people.

“One of the priorities for the Minister of Social Development is to work with you to finalise the appropriate measures to stop loan sharks from preying on vulnerable people,” he said.

The President also said government concede that in some instances, consultation with traditional leaders has not been adequate.

He said that government, together with business and labour, will need to improve on their consultation with traditional leaders on issues like mining and infrastructure development.

“With regards to mining, our new Minister of Mineral Resources Gwede Mantashe has said that he is going to start a consultation process and he wants the Mining Charter to be completed within three months and that consultation is going to involve all our people, including traditional authorities where mining takes place,” he said.

During the marathon debate, traditional leaders called for a basket of issues to be addressed to ensure there is adequate rural development. This includes:

  • Accelerated land reform and agricultural development linked to food security;
  • Improving conditions for education, from up-skilling educators to rolling out more ECD centres in rural areas;
  • Dealing decisively with social ills like old men kidnapping young girls and forcibly marrying them [ukuthwala] and hiding behind customary practises; 
  • Calls for development Finance Institutions like IDC to be biased into creating industries in rural communities in sectors like agriculture; and
  • Ensuring that health services like clinics are open for 24 hours to improve access to the facilities for the most vulnerable.

The President said newly-appointed Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize told him that a plan to address the issues raised during the debate would be developed very soon.

He also said that he was prepared to work with traditional leaders on any issues they raised during the debate “without equivocation”. –

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