President Zuma reaffirms commitment to effective and efficient social grants distribution

On behalf of Government, I would like to welcome the pronouncement by the Constitutional Court on the distribution of social grants.

The Court has given clear directives on the extension of the grants distribution and the parameters within which government must operate in this regard. I want to assure all grant beneficiaries that government will implement the directive of the Constitutional Court and uphold the Constitutional rights of the poor and vulnerable in our society.

Social security is one of the socio-economic rights that are mentioned specifically in the Constitution of the Republic. It is for this reason that we have worked so hard since 1994 to ensure that we bring millions of our poor and vulnerable citizens into the social security net. We are proud of our social assistance system and will continue working hard to strengthen it to ensure that it plays its role of alleviating poverty and providing support to orphans and vulnerable children, military veterans, older persons and persons with disabilities.

Through the social grants system, it has been possible for the children of the poor to obtain government support from early childhood to matric.

Government will ensure that all beneficiaries receive their social grants on 1 April.

I have directed the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Comprehensive Social Security to ensure that the order of the court is implemented efficiently and diligently, in its entirety.

I established the Committee last year with the following members whose portfolios include services related to social assistance or social security;

o The Minister of Social Development, Ms Bathabile Dlamini (co-chairperson)

o Minister of Finance, Mr Pravin Gordhan (co-chairperson)

o Minister of Labour, Ms Mildred Oliphant

o Minister of Transport, Ms Dipuo Peters.

o The Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi.

I have now decided to lead and chair the Committee and I have added the following new members,

o The Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Dr Siyabonga Cwele

o The Minister of Communications, Ms Faith Muthambi

o The Minister of Home Affairs, Mr Malusi Gigaba

The Directors-General of the Departments of Social Development and the National Treasury shall co-chair the technical task team and lead the IMC secretariat.

Beyond the important directive from the Constitutional Court, the IMC will also focus on comprehensive social security reforms with a view to addressing the gaps and weaknesses identified and ensuring the provision of a comprehensive social security for all. The labour movement has been calling for comprehensive reforms of our social security system over a period of time. The IMC will assist Cabinet in moving that process forward.

South Africa is a democracy which is governed by the Constitution and the rule of law. The ruling by the Constitutional Court indicates our progressive democracy and a functional system of checks and balances, which benefits our citizens.

Government deeply regrets the undue anxiety that resulted from the uncertainty over grant distribution. We apologise to South Africans unreservedly.

Source: The Presidency Republic of South Africa