Don’t play games with grants


Can Social Development Minister, Bathabile Dlamini stop playing hide-and-seek with our grannies’ and grandfathers’ grants, as this money, for the poor old people – especially those from impoverished areas like Alexandra and others – is life and death for some of them.

These grants are all they have between them and their next meal. They depend entirely on the payment of the grants for their survival on a day-to-day basis and from one month to the next. We don’t want another Esidimeni tragedy with people dying as a result of hunger because a well-to-do minister cared little about their welfare and wellbeing.

The Constitutional Court ruled – well over two years ago – that the current contract, or the one the minister and her department used to have with Cash Paymaster Services, was invalid and unlawful and needed to be urgently replaced with another, if not with a brand-new service provider.

Arrogant as she is, this fell on Bathabile’s deaf ears. I wonder whether she even understands the role of the Constitutional Court in our democracy?

She has also displayed her ignorance and naivety when it comes to the role that is supposed to be played by the fourth estate in our country and democracy. It seems she wants the media to stay mute when 17 million of our old people’s only source of income for their next breakfast, lunch and dinner is threatened by her bungling and ineptness. If the same media was to keep quiet about something different, she would be the first person to shout ‘where is this so-called media when we need it most’.

The role of the media, among others, if you did not know, Minister, is to expose debacles and failures such as yours.

Most of our old and frail citizens can no longer work for their livelihood or upkeep. Most of them, if not all of them, are not as privileged as you, as you earn a posh salary for bungling, drive a posh car, live in a posh house and maybe even eat posh food – if there is something like that.

The welfare of our people should have been foremost in your thoughts all the time. You should have made it priority number one after the ruling of the court, as you’re well aware that without the payment of those grants, ikati liyolala eziko (there will be nothing to cook) for some, who’re not as privileged as you are.

When all is said and done, one wonders why the minister clings to this contract and this particular service provider so tightly. Please, Ms, Mrs or Miss Minister, enlighten us.

And, please, stop blaming the media for little skeletons in your cupboard. Just clear them out and everything will be hunky-dory. I’m sure, if you were in my shoes you would also ask, what’s in it for you to hold onto this illegal contract so dearly.

Also read: Madala hostel hosts social dialogue

Sipho Siso

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