Freedom Front Plus
Freedom Front Plus

Social problems will not be resolved under ANC rule

(Budget vote debate in Parliament: Social Development)

Over the past few years, the Department of Social Development has faced numerous challenges. It resulted in a lot of frustration with the Department's service delivery, although some officials still tried to do their very best amid a sea of incompetence.

These challenging circumstances can, however, not be used as an excuse for everything that has gone wrong in the Department or for the various problems experienced by South Africans when it comes to social development.

Likewise, the recognition of these challenges must not be misconstrued as approval of how the ANC government is managing the Department, i.e. without heeding any advice on how to overcome the true challenges of poverty and famine in the country.

South Africa has turned into a welfare state. It is, however, not sustainable to have more than 25 million people dependent on social grants. It is not the solution to the country's poverty problems, in fact, it is merely exacerbating those problems.

Certain people in the ruling party have voiced the opinion that the Covid-19 relief grant, which was paid out until the end of April this year, should possibly be extended or even permanently implemented. There is no money to do that. Thus, the money will have to come from the already embattled private sector.

The threat that the people may revolt if the relief grant is terminated is unacceptable. It is the ANC government's fault that the country finds itself in an economic predicament and it is the ANC that taught the people that problems must be resolved by means of revolt and violence.

The government must stop trying to shirk its responsibilities by blaming the past for all its failures and problems. Action must be taken against public enterprises that are failing as well as against everyone guilty of fraud and corruption, regardless of whether they are cadres, comrades or kin.

Using electronic systems to process the applications for most social grants and to make doctor's appointments to obtain approval for disability grants is, technically speaking, a step in the right direction and will help prevent scenarios where people have to stand in queues for hours on end just to be turned away for something silly, like a bank date stamp not being available on that particular day.

In practice, such a system will have its own set of challenges in a country like South Africa. According to recent figures, the country's level of literacy has decreased with 7%. Most South Africans reside in rural areas and are not technologically literate or they simply do not have access to technology, like computers and smartphones.

SASSA has undertaken to train staff members to assist people with using the system, but it is already under pressure due to staff shortages and its personnel are struggling to get all the existing work done. The National Development Agency could help with this, but there are many question marks hanging over its functioning and competence as well.

The truth is that cadre deployment, corruption and misguided priorities have paralysed the Department and all its entities to such an extent that they are unable to make a real impact to sustainably improve people's living conditions.




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