Social Development Minister praise department for ‘poor performance’

African News Agency (ANA)

Social Development Minister praise department for ‘poor performance’
Bathabile Dlamini. Photo: alchetron.com

A response by Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini to a parliamentary question has revealed that only 5800 out of 44,000 victims of illegal social grant deductions have been compensated, the Democratic Alliance said on Sunday.

“This a meagre 13 percent. It is worrying that despite this failure to properly respond to the theft of money from the most vulnerable members of our communities, minister Dlamini finds it worthwhile to praise her department for what is essentially poor performance,” DA spokeswoman Bridget Masango said.

Indeed, the minister said that “while we are concerned about the monies of poor people that are being deducted illegally, we are proud to say that we are able to repay these monies back to over 5800 of the 44,000 reported cases” on record.

For Dlamini to be proud to have refunded only 5800 of the 44,000 “reported” cases was alarming. The reality was that this number was increasing and it was only those who had been able to report it who had been refunded. There was also no guarantee that the deductions stopped after they had been refunded, Masango said.

The DA would continue to investigate the failure to protect social grant recipients from illegal deductions through various means, including submitting follow-up written questions in Parliament to determine what steps were being taken to increase compensation to more identified victims of this crime.

The DA would also ask the social development portfolio committee to demand a full briefing from the department on why their compensation rate was so low, and table a motion for debate in the National Assembly on illegal deductions so that political parties could provide solutions, she said.

Recent statistics by the Bureau for Food and Agriculture Policy (BFAP) painted a horrific picture for social grant recipients. According to the BFAP, 40 to 60 percent of South Africans could not afford to eat healthy. This, according to BFAP, was due to the price of monthly balanced food baskets – a thrifty one and a more “diverse” one, being R3500 and R4600 respectively as at April this year.

The grant recipients whose grants had been unlawfully deducted were already hit hard by the fact that their meagre grants were not enabling them to buy the basic foodstuffs to last them for a month, let alone the fact that they now had to spend money seeking help for their money to be refunded.

“The DA has been calling for an increase in social grants. We reiterate our call for the increase of grants and for the minister to ensure that the unlawful deductions come to an end – and soon,” Masango said.

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SOURCEAfrican News Agency (ANA)