(File photo) Hundreds of pensioners queued at the William Herbert Sports Grounds in Wynberg for the annual Sassa grant review. Picture Henk KrugeR.

Cape Town - Social development's R144.5 billion budget for 2014/15 will benefit from the removal of people not eligible for grants, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Wednesday.

Tabling his 2014 Budget in the National Assembly, he told MPs: “One million invalid beneficiaries were removed from the system. Social grants are meant for those who need them most.”

In 2012 and 2013, all social grant beneficiaries were required to re-register with the SA Social Security Agency. This was aimed at eliminating fraud and corruption, and cleaning up the beneficiary database.

According to the 2014 Budget, 340,000 old age and disability grants were cancelled in August last year because beneficiaries failed to re-register.

In October last year, 300,000 children were removed from the system because their guardians failed to present them.

Between April 2012 and December last year, 299,000 grants were removed, either through ineligible beneficiaries voluntarily cancelling their grants, or by the removal of beneficiaries who had not claimed.

Gordhan said the recent re-registration of grant recipients and the introduction of a new payment system had lowered the cost of administration.

It now cost R16.40 to pay each beneficiary a grant, compared to around R32 per beneficiary per month five years ago.

The social development budget was 10.3 percent up on the previous financial year.

Gordhan said the number of grant recipients had increased from 13.1 million in 2009, to 15.8 million today.

Old age and disability grants would increase in April, from R1270 to R1350 a month.

The foster care grant would increase from R800 to R830 a month.

The child support grant would increase from R300 to R310 a month in April, and to R320 in October.

The 2014 Budget made provision for establishing a public substance abuse treatment centre in each province, in line with the requirements of the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act of 2008.

Currently, there are only seven public treatment centres in four provinces, and these are located in the cities.

The budget proposes additional allocations of R50m each year, over the next three years, for centres in Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, North West and Free State. - Sapa