The Democratic Alliance (DA) has challenged Minister of Social Development, Bathabile Dlamini, to live on R753 for an entire month, after she said that it was adequate for social grant beneficiaries.
Dlamini stated in a reply to a DA parliamentary question that Social Grant Beneficiaries should be able to live on R753 per month to buy “adequate food as well as additional non-food items”.
As a cabinet minister, Dlamini earns R2.3 million annually – R191,000 per month.
Calculations by Wits researchers puts the estimated cost of essential food and non-food items needed to survive at R1,319 for a single person – and R5,276 for a household of four in SA.
DA shadow minister of social development, Bridget Masango, said that with rising food prices due to the drought and other factors, the minister’s assertion is “deeply insensitive and completely untrue”.
“To this end, I challenge Minister Dlamini to join me, as soon as possible, on a trip to the shops to test her claim that R753 can buy ‘adequate’ food and other essential items. I will, today, issue a written invitation to the minister to accompany me,” Masango said.
“This uncaring response demonstrates yet again just how much the ANC has changed. The ANC governs like black lives don’t matter, more concerned with benefiting from state resources than helping those most in need.”
The political party noted that the recent increases to social grants were well below food inflation, and this has diminished the buying power of the most vulnerable in our society, making it harder for them to put food on the table.
The DA said it has tried to amend the budget to increase provision for social grants. “The fact that the ANC voted it down proved that they don’t have the poor’s best interest at heart,” Masango said.
Stats SA’s latest report on the financial statistics of national government provided some insights into government spending on social grants.
The report showed that the number of households receiving at least one form of social grant rose from 29.9% of the population in 2003 to 44.3% in 2010, and to 45.5%in 2015.
For every R100 national government spends on social grants, R42 goes to family and children grants; R41 goes to old age grants; and R16 goes to sickness and disability grants.
The remaining R1 of the R100 consists of grants such as social relief-of-distress grants (for example, food parcels in the event of natural disasters).