Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini, said Pres. Zuma’s government socially assisted about 17 million South Africans.

The Minister stated that the social assistance package of Pres. Zuma’s government is absolutely necessary to human capital investment, and is hugely contributing to the efforts geared towards the eradication of poverty and inequality in the country.

She said more than two thirds of those Zuma’s government socially assisted are children who receive the Child Support Grant (CSG). Over three million older persons receive the Old Age Grant, and a million people, the disability grant.

The Minister added that 304 913 learners out of 455 922 who passed their matric examinations received a social grant.

“In order to ensure that the education of these learners continues without interruption, the department is in negotiation with the National Student Financial Aid Scheme to ensure that learners that had qualified for grants are not subjected to a mean test to qualify for financial support to further their studies,” Dlamini promised.

The Minister divulged that the challenges emanating from illegal deductions on social grants are being handled.

“We have witnessed high levels of unacceptable practice of illegal, immoral and unauthorized deductions of money from all grant types for services ranging from airtime, water, loans and funeral policies,” she said.

“We published revised Regulations to the Social Assistance Act for public comment in February this year, which will deal with this practice. The department has considered all the comments and made some revisions to the Regulations,” Dlamini stated.

Thereafter, she lamented that the absence of a funeral benefit has exposed social grant beneficiaries to exploitation by private insurance companies.

“The lack of government action to protect them has led (to a) very loud outcry by our beneficiaries and various civil society organisations. We intend to introduce legislation into Parliament during this current financial year, for the establishment of a funeral benefits fund,” said the Minister.

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