ANC Acknowledges Insufficiency of SASSA Grants Amidst Poverty and Unemployment. In South Africa ongoing battle against poverty and unemployment, the government provides social grants to low-income individuals as a form of financial assistance. However, the African National Congress (ANC) now concedes that these grants fall short in addressing the needs of the population.
ANC Treasurer General Acknowledgment
Gwen Ramokgopa, the ANC’s Treasurer General, candidly acknowledges that South Africa’s social grant system does not sufficiently address the enduring challenges of unemployment and poverty.
ANC Pledge to Improve Social Grants
In its 2019 election manifesto, the ANC pledged to enhance access to social grants as part of its commitment to bolster social security for the most vulnerable. Ramokgopa noted progress in addressing the country’s socio-economic issues but recognized that challenges persist.
Alleviating Hunger Despite Inadequate Grants
Despite the soaring cost of living, the R350 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant, distributed monthly, has prevented a significant number of citizens from experiencing hunger, according to Ramokgopa. The ANC emphasizes the importance of safeguarding public funds earmarked for social programs to prevent misappropriation.
Dependence on SASSA Grants
Millions of South Africans, including children, the elderly, and individuals with disabilities, depend on social grants distributed by the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA).
Calls for Increased SRD Grant
Beneficiaries, lobbyists, organizations, and parliament members have advocated increasing the SRD grant from R350 to R663 per month, aligning it with the monthly Food Poverty Line and potentially transforming it into a Basic Income Grant (BIG).
Prospects for a Basic Income Grant
The Department of Social Development has been exploring the feasibility of implementing a Basic Income Grant for vulnerable adults, aiming to ensure financial sustainability without compromising economic growth.
President Announcement on Basic Income Support
During the 2023 State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Cyril Ramaphosa announced ongoing efforts to establish a targeted Basic Income Support (BIS) mechanism for the most vulnerable citizens.
Challenges of Extending the SRD Grant
Extending the SRD grant beyond March 2024 would require substantial sacrifices and policy adjustments due to unprecedented financial pressures stemming from economic challenges, including load-shedding, inflation, and poor growth.
SASSA Grant Payment Challenges
SASSA frequently faces delays in distributing grant funds to beneficiaries, leaving many individuals without financial support for extended periods.
Technical Glitch Affecting Grant Payments
A recent technical glitch in SASSA systems disrupted the distribution of grants, particularly affecting recipients of the Older Person’s and Disability grants. While the issue has been resolved, some beneficiaries remain unpaid.
Explanation for the Glitch
Communications Minister Mondli Gungubele attributed the glitch to a new payment switch, resulting in erroneous deductions from beneficiaries’ accounts, impacting approximately 600,000 people.
Apology and Remedial Measures
The government apologizes for the inconvenience caused by the technical challenges and assures the public of its commitment to improving systems. Postbank is manually reversing funds into affected grant beneficiaries’ bank accounts, though this process is ongoing.
Progress in Resolving Payment Issues
Postbank reports that approximately 90% of the affected 600,000 people have received their grant payments, indicating significant progress in resolving the issue.
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