Call for Urgent Action in Social Grants Crisis

The Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) has called for urgent action from government to address the looming crisis in the delivery of social grants.

Failure to deliver social grants will compromise the well-being of millions of the most vulnerable of South Africa’s people, says a statement released reecently.

Social grants contribute significantly to the social and economic development of the population and long-term ethical and sustainable solutions should be found to address potential failures in the delivery of these grants. 

Child Support Grants, Disability Grants and Old-Age Pensions have achieved significant reductions in poverty, improvements in nutrition, health, education and income for millions of households. Grants are a vital source of livelihoods and essential to reducing inequality in the country.The social grants system is also firmly established and constitutionally protected.

Failure to find a legal, cost-effective, corruption-free and sustainable solution to the delivery of social grants after the current contract with Cash Paymaster Services expires will place the welfare of over 17 million people at risk.

It will increase poverty and inequality, undermine the health, nutrition and social well-being of children, and will erode confidence and public trust in our constitutional democracy.  It will have a retrogressive effect on the country’s human development outcomes and is contrary to the state’s constitutional mandate to advance the human rights of all South Africans.

“Failure to act will have dire consequences for people’s well-being, their everyday lives and for social, economic and political stability“, warns the statement.