Over 17 million beneficiaries receive social grants
Government is providing a security net to over 17 million poor South Africans through social grants, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said on Sunday.
The Minister said this when she led a briefing of the Social Protection, Community and Human Development Cluster. She gave an update on the progress made in the implementation of the cluster’s Programme of Action (PoA) towards achieving the goals of the NDP: Vision 2030.
“Through Social Assistance Programme which is part of the country’s Social Protection System, more than 17 million poor South Africans are receiving social grants from the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) to the value of R10 billion per month.
“It is also worth noting that this year; SASSA is celebrating ten years of its existence.”
The Minister said the National Development Plan has set a target to eradicate absolute poverty – from 39% of people living below the poverty line to zero by 2030.
She said the target is a lofty goal and yet one that must be faced head on as government sets to deliver on its promise.
“Government is continuing to improve the living conditions of poor, vulnerable and underprivileged South Africans from within the length and breadth of our country.
“These include unemployed South Africans as well as orphaned and vulnerable children living in child headed households.
“We do this as part of our response to the current economic downturn which is affecting all of us,” she said.
Government undertakes a Social Security Policy reform
The Minister said the social cluster Cabinet Committee reviewed a proposal for Amendments to the Social Assistance Act.
She said the amendments will include, amongst others, changes to the administration of social grants that will improve the efficiency of the Appeals process and the functioning of the Inspectorate.
She said the amendments also seek to empower the Minister to make additional payments for certain social grants - such as Child Support Grant to orphaned and vulnerable children living in child headed households.
Meanwhile, Minister Motshekga said government has set itself a target to reduce the unemployment rate to 6% – by creating 11 million more jobs by 2030.
“The EPWP Social Sector continues to play a significant role in responding to the challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.
“This fact was confirmed in the recently completed EPWP Social Sector 2014/15 Evaluation report by Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation.
“This report found that ‘Over the past five years on average 71% of participants were women and 51% were young people’.”
Minister Motshekga said the good performance of the various Social Sector departments has resulted in the EPWP Incentive Grant allocation increasing from R240 563 million in 2015/16 to a whopping R359-million to 40 departments in 2016/17 across all provinces.
“This is a huge boost to our efforts to fight the scourge of unemployment especially amongst the youth,” she said. – SAnews.gov.za
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