social grants

South Africans Urged to Use Land ‘Productively’

President Jacob Zuma has reiterated his support for the campaign that encourages South Africans to productively use the land to improve food security for millions of citizens.

Zuma states that in order to reduce food insecurity in rural areas, government is promoting food gardens and other forms of subsistence agriculture, involving civil society.

He stresses the importance of people going back to the land and not to view social grants, wage employment and non-agricultural informal activities as the only source of income for rural households.

Some Relatives Qualify for Foster Grant, Court Rules

Relatives who take care of orphaned or abandoned children can qualify for foster grants thanks to a recent court order.

This follows a ruling by the South Gauteng High Court last week, that family members could apply as foster parents and receive a foster grant, which is about R500 more than the child care grant.

The judgment is the first time a high court had the chance to interpret the Children's Act and define who may apply for foster grants and what child should be fostered.

Social Grants Weigh on Govt Coffers

The latest Statistics South Africa (STATS SA) figures released this week suggest social grants and a large public service are taking their toll on government coffers.

STATS SA’s Financial Statistics of National Government report shows the government’s cash payments for operating activities rose by R60.5 billion to R791.9 billion in 2010-11‚ from R731.3 billion in 2009-10‚ mainly due to an increase in grant payments and employee compensation.

Govt Tackles Social Grants Fraud and Corruption

The Department of Social Development says that the government has stepped up efforts to stamp out fraud and corruption within its social security system.

Social Development Minister, Bathabile Dlamini, says the state provides social grants – through the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) - to over 15 million beneficiaries, with a total budget of R105 billion.

Dlamini states that, "SASSA has intensified mechanisms to reduce fraud and corruption within the social security system."

Beneficiaries Misuse Social Grants – Report

The Department of Social Development says that beneficiaries are misusing social grants by paying for hairdresser appointments and buying beauty products.

In its latest report, ‘Child Support Grant Evaluation released by Social Development’, the department notes that the number of people receiving grants is over 12 million, costing R105 billion for the year.

The report found examples of misuse of grants, bribery and attempts to mislead or deceive officials in order to get grants. Other problems include isolated incidents of corruption and bribery by officials themselves.

Social Grants Boosts Local Businesses

According to Khulekani Magubane, social grants paid by the state are helping retailers in township shopping centres weather tough economic conditions.

In this article titled ‘Social grants benefit retailers in township malls’, Magubane states that shopping centres in Diepsloot and Tembisa are consistently productive despite harsh economic condition because community members spend the social grant money.

Concern Over Grants Registration Plan

NGOs and advocacy groups are concerned about the Department of Social Development’s announcement that more than 15 million people will have to re-register for social grants in the next year.

But Leonie Caroline, the Western Cape provincial director of the Black Sash, says that, “What the department is proposing is a massive bureaucratic undertaking,” she said. “We feel some people could fall through the cracks.”

Social Grants Recipients to Increase – Gordhan

Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, says the number of South Africans receiving social grants will swell to 16.7 million over the next three years.

Tabling the 2012/13 Budget in Parliament, Gordhan stated that by the end of 2011, nearly 15.3 million people were eligible for social grants, compared to 2.5 million in 1998.

He said despite the rapid growth in the number of beneficiaries, however, spending on social grants will decline as a percentage of GDP -- from 3.5 percent in 2011/12, to 3.2 percent by 2014/15.

Plan to Take Over Grants Payments

The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) is gearing itself to take over the payment of social grants when the five-year contract worth R10 billion it awarded to a security company expires in 2017.

SASSA CEO, Virginia Petersen, says the agency has started the research and design of a new model for paying social grants.

Petersen argues that a key feature of the new model would be the range of options from which beneficiaries can choose how they would like to receive their payments.

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