Ramaphosa’s celebration of growing social grant dependency raises concerns

The article below, first published by the Daily Friend, highlights the alarming rise of South Africans who are dependent on social grants, with President Cyril Ramaphosa boasting about the growing number of people who rely on such grants as a worthy accomplishment on the part of the government. Writer, Tiego Thotse, raises concerns about the failure of the ANC government to create conditions favorable for job creation, leading to an increasing number of people relying on social grants. The author argues that a sustainable solution to reducing poverty and restoring people’s dignity lies in job creation and fostering an environment conducive to business operations rather than expanding the social grant system. Read more on the alarming rise of dependency on social grants below.


Ramaphosa enjoys seeing people in poverty

By Tiego Thotse

Some people may think that the above headline is sensationalist but there is no other way to explain President Cyril Ramaphosa’s celebration and bragging about the shameful fact that more South Africans are currently dependent on social assistance than there were when the African National Congress (ANC) government first came to power a generation ago. Every opportunity he gets, the man makes sure to celebrate the alarmingly rising number of people who rely on social grants to make a living, as if this were a worthy accomplishment on the part of the government.

During his Human Rights Day address in the Northern Cape on Tuesday this week, President Ramaphosa once again boasted that more people are on the government’s social grants system today than ever before. He has done this numerous times before during his addresses, including during some of his State-of-the-Nation addresses. “Just over 2.5 million people were receiving social grants in 1999”, he claimed. In a celebratory and proud tone, President Ramaphosa declared, “Today, over 18 million people are receiving these grants.” 

This is more embarrassing and illustrative of the failures of the ANC government than anything to brag about. His pride and celebratory mode were rather odd.

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Raises serious concerns

The fact that our President seems to believe that a growing population of people in need of social assistance is something to be proud of raises serious concerns and is precisely what begs the question of whether the President does not enjoy seeing our people in poverty. 

The large number of social grants given by the government actually means that it has not created conditions favourable for job creation. Many people who receive social assistance, including 716 200 graduates who receive the R350 social relief grant because they are unemployed, could find work if the government did its job properly. The number of children receiving social grants support would undoubtedly be much lower than 11 million if the government were doing its job properly, and many parents of these children would, likewise, not be on social grants support. 

A president who cares about the economic development of this nation, which can only occur when fewer people depend on the government for survival and more people rely on working for themselves, would not be proud to cite statistics showing that more people are now economically dependent on social grants than when the ANC first took office. Instead, he or she would be alarmed by the fact that the number of people dependent on social grants is increasing.

A nation’s economy can be managed more sustainably by continuously fostering an environment that is favourable to business operations and the creation of jobs. Fewer people would require social assistance if there were more employed people in South Africa. In this regard, the ANC has utterly failed to create an environment that is conducive to job opportunities.  More jobs would cut down social grants and reduce poverty, and thereby ensure that more South Africans become independent and economically free.

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Silly things

This is why the ANC now celebrates silly things.  An expanding social grant system is unsustainable because eventually, the small group of people who provide support for the large group of recipients of social grants will run out of money.

Already, our system of taxes, which is one of the highest in the entire world, is killing everyone.

Above all else, however, people have more dignity when they work for their money than when they receive a social grant. If Ramaphosa and the ANC truly cared, they would have dedicated more of their efforts between 1994 and the present to ensuring that there were enough job opportunities in our country for everyone to benefit from, rather than increasing people’s dependence on the government. After all, it is employment opportunities – not social grants – that can help us end poverty while restoring people’s dignity.

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The views of the writer are not necessarily the views of the Daily Friend or the IRR

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