The assertion by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa that social grants may be scrapped should the ANC lose power is utterly false, writer and political analyst Lunga Mrhetjha said.
He pointed out that in the last 30 years, the ANC has created a somewhat welfare state where people become heavily dependent on grants for survival, instead of creating employment and aiding a culture of entrepreneurship.
“Grants, as a social safety net, are protected by section 27 of the constitution, which says that everyone has the right to have access to – (a) healthcare services, including reproductive healthcare (b) sufficient food and water; and (c) social security, including, if they are unable to support themselves and their dependents, appropriate social assistance,” Mr. Mrhetjha highlighted.
His contention comes after Ramaphosa said the electorate should bear in mind that the country might change for the worst should the African National Congress (ANC) lose power.
Ramaphosa made these controversial remarks in Mbombela, on Monday, where the governing party held a cake cutting ceremony to celebrate its 112th birthday in the lead up to its January 8 statement scheduled for the weekend.
In Mrhetjha’s view, social grants have been weaponized against the masses to achieve political objectives, instead of being a mechanism put in place to fight poverty.
“While grants are important and should be encouraged for the kind of economic activity they induce, they are not the final destination. A forward-thinking government should look towards creating a developmental state with a huge focus on infrastructure development.
“It is through such an approach that jobs can be created at an industrial scale. This will lessen dependency on grants and reduce poverty drastically,” he said.
In South Africa there is about 18 million people who are currently receiving social grants while NSFAS funds nearly 1.3 million students a year.
“Social security is enshrined in the constitution and the State has a duty to take care of its citizens. Governments come and go, but the State is a permanent entity. Whoever will be given the mandate by the electorate to be the 7th democratically elected government will have to continue with grants one way or another,” Mrhetjha assured.