Social grants will continue to be paid beyond March

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Cape Town – Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini has assured South Africans that government will continue to pay social grants to beneficiaries beyond March 2017.

The Minister briefed journalists in Cape Town on the Social Protection, Community and Human Development Cluster’s programme of action on Tuesday. The briefing follows the State of the Nation Address earlier this month.

“It has been reported that government will not be able to pay social grants after March this year. We would like to take this opportunity and reassure South Africans, in particular, social grant beneficiaries that government will through SASSA continue on its constitutional mandate to administer and pay social grants after March 2017,” she said.

The South Africa Social Security Agency’s (SASSA) current contract with Cash Paymaster Services, which currently pays social grants to almost 17 million beneficiaries, is set to expire at the end of March.

The Constitutional Court had previously made a ruling that the contract between SASSA and Cash Paymaster Services was invalid and ordered a re-run of the tender process.

But Cash Paymaster was allowed to continue to fulfil its contractual obligations so that social grants payments would not be disrupted.

SASSA recently appeared before Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Social Development and said it would approach the Constitutional Court as a short-term measure to ensure that beneficiaries will receive their payments on 1 April 2017.

The Minister said, meanwhile, that R457.5 billion will be paid to the social development sector from the national fiscus for the next three years. She said social grants now reached close to 17 million people, mainly older persons and children.

“Many families would not be able to put food on the table if it were not for social grants.”

A total of 9 313 511 learners in 20 744 schools benefit from the National School Nutrition Programme. “No-fee paying schools comprise 87.52% of schools nationally, which means that over 9.7 million learners (78.97%), attending 20 760 schools do not pay school fees,” said Minister Dlamini.

EPWP programmes alleviating poverty

The Minister said expanded public works programmes (EPWP) were providing communities with sustainable livelihoods.

She said government had partnered with various SETAs and private sector companies to provide EPWP participants with skills in various trades such as artisans, pharmacy assistants, small business development as well as community care giving.

The type of training provided to participants is aimed at ensuring that they are armed with skills they can use to enter the mainstream economy.

“Over 67% of people who found opportunities in the EPWP between April and December 2016 were women while 44.73% were youth. 

“Most work opportunities were created in the Infrastructure Sector at 199 196, followed by Environment and Culture at 126 183.

“The social sector created 97 852 work opportunities while non-state sector created 74 393 work opportunities. – SAnews.gov.za

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