East London - Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu on Friday, expressed concerns about the high number of young social grant beneficiaries in Eastern Cape.
Following her Eastern Cape engagements with provincial social development member of the executive council (MEC) Siphokazi Manyi-Lusithi and senior officials from South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) and National Development Agency, Zulu said the state was overwhelmed by social grants needs when it could be supporting people in their own development.
Addressing the media at the East London Sassa offices, Zulu said about 71 percent of social grants recipients in the province were young people.
She said the government pays about R3 billion a month on Eastern Cape beneficiaries alone.
"It means something is not going right. Most of this money should be going towards the elderly, should be going to supporting them so that they can be able to support their families," said Zulu.
She said the government was looking at various ways to empower young people not to think that they would grow up to have children in order to get the social grants.
Addressing the Mdantsane community in NU 1, Zulu called for a behavioural change to end youth pregnancy.
"It is painful that a lot of social grants money goes towards children who have got children. Why are 16-year olds having children? Why are 18-year olds having children? What is that we're not doing right to make them see that they have a future without having children. Something must change so that the money that government gives towards social grants to be utilised in helping young people to run small businesses instead."
Zulu said there was also a problem of corruption in the system which needed to be tackled with the help of other government departments and agencies.
Meanwhile, Sassa CEO Busisiwe Memela Khambula said about eight agency officials have been suspended in Eastern Cape on allegations of fraud and corruption.
African News Agency (ANA)