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In a step towards addressing the persistent crisis surrounding the disbursement of SASSA grants, the DA has lodged a formal complaint with the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) following the dire and systemic failures that have left the most vulnerable members of our society in a state of distress.
Our complaint to the SAHRC is founded on the bedrock principles enshrined in the South African Constitution, which unequivocally protect the rights and dignity of every citizen. The core issues at the heart of our grievance encompass:
Section 10 – The right to human dignity: Delayed grant payments have plunged the poorest among us into profound suffering, impacting their dignity significantly.
Section 11 – The right to life: Delays in accessing funds for food and medicine have placed the lives of grant recipients at risk, leaving them vulnerable to malnutrition and illness.
Section 27 - The right to healthcare, food, water, and social security: The failure to ensure timely payments directly infringes upon the rights of citizens to social security, significantly impacting their ability to afford essential food and healthcare.
Section 28 – The rights of children: Grant payment failures disproportionately affect children, compromising their right to nutrition, shelter, basic health services, and social services.
The ongoing crisis surrounding SASSA grant payments has highlighted the inability of the Department of Social Development to address these pressing issues. It is evident that Minister Lindiwe Zulu and her department are struggling to provide the level of care and support that the most vulnerable members of our society require.
The DA firmly believes that meaningful change can only be achieved through a government that is accountable, compassionate, and committed to the well-being of all its citizens. The recurring failures in the grant payment system underscore the need for urgent reform.
As we file this complaint with the SAHRC, the DA reaffirms its commitment to advocating for a compassionate, efficient government that genuinely cares for its citizens. We believe that real progress can only be achieved through the support of the people combined with economic growth to empower people to be the authors of their own future and less dependent on the state.
To address the concerns raised in our complaint and to promote the well-being of South Africans, the DA outlines the following key proposals:
- Protecting Social Grants: We will safeguard social grants from corruption and increase child support grants to match the official food poverty line;
- Supporting the Elderly: We will promote financial literacy, the auto-enrolment with an opt out options in workplace pension schemes to encourage saving for retirement as this lays the foundation for their financial resilience in their retirement, reducing their reliance on state support. We will also regulate old-age homes to protect against abuse;
- Addressing Unemployment: We will investigate a Basic Income Guarantee, empower the unemployed with cash transfers for basic services, and assess the UIF system for improvements;
- Combatting Hunger: We will expand the list of VAT-exempt food items to ensure essential items remain affordable for the most vulnerable;
- Empowering communities to independently cultivate, market and sell their produce through food gardens supported by food hubs. taking a significant step towards fostering self-reliance and reducing dependence on the state while simultaneously addressing immediate hunger and nutrition concerns.
These policies represent our commitment to the most vulnerable in our society, ensuring that they receive the support and protection they deserve. We urge all citizens to reflect on these systemic issues as they prepare to cast their votes in the upcoming election.
The question remains: Who looks after the vulnerable in South Africa? Who cares for the mother forced to abandon her babies due to a "glitch" in the system? The DA will continue to champion the cause of the most vulnerable and work tirelessly to ensure a brighter and more secure future for all.
Issued by Bridget Masango MP - DA Shadow Minister of Social Development