Statement by Adv. Michael T. Masutha, Chairperson Social Development PC on the Extension of Social Assistance Benefits

18 November 2008

On 14 Jul this year, the President promulgated The Social Assistance Amendment Act, 2008 (Act No. 6 of 2008), thereby giving effect to the changes in the law for men and women to qualify for social grants from the same age of sixty, in line with the ANC Polokwane resolution of December 2007. This Amendment provides for men aged 63 with effect from 14 July 2008, men aged 61, with effect from 1 April 2009 and men aged 60 with effect from 1 April 2010, to qualify for social grants.

We as the ANC, however, eagerly awaits Government’s decision to raise the age of eligibility for the child support grant from under 14 to 18 years, to be in line with another important Polokwane resolution, and the South African Constitution, in this regard and thereby extending that grant to an additional estimated 2.1 million poor children who desperately need this support. We therefore call upon the Minister of Social Development, Dr Zola Skweyiya, together with the Minister of Finance, Cde Trevor Manuel to urgently finalize Government decision on this matter and effect amendments to the Social Assistance Regulations to give effect thereto.

Finally, we urge Government to provide more resources towards the provision of social relief to those destitute families and individuals who desperately need it and who may not qualify for social grants, especially during this period of giving.

I thank you!

Michael T. Masutha
Chairperson of the Social Development PC
Tel: 021 403 2305