Political commentators slam Ramaphosa over his over-reliance on social grants

President Cyril Ramaposa. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency/ANA

President Cyril Ramaposa. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency/ANA

Published Jan 15, 2024


President Cyril Ramaphosa has once again commended his administration for ensuring that it gives social relief and intervention through social grants.

This comes after Ramaphosa during his January 8 Statement said more than 28 million South Africans were benefiting from social grants.

Ramaphosa has in the past pegged his administration through its ability to disband ANC’s pro-poor policies which benefits the country’s 28 million poor, who receive grants against the country’s 7.1 million taxpayers.

Ramaphosa said: “The ANC has done a lot to tackle poverty head-on. Over the last 30 years, our approach has been two-pronged; firstly through the social wage, which involves a range of social and economic interventions including expanding access to quality basic services, and secondly, though direct transfers to households in the form of social grants.

“One of the most direct actions by our government has been the provision of an effective social security net. In 1999, only 2.5 million people had access to social relief.

“Today, more than 18 million people in our country receive grants. The Social relief of Distress Grant, introduced during the Covid-19 pandemic to provide relief to unemployed people, lays the basis for a future basic income grant,” Ramaphosa told more than 43 000 ANC supporters gathered at the Mbombela Stadium at the weekend.

Ramaphosa was at it again on Monday when, during the ANC’s birthday celebrations, he said the ANC’s policies have been pro-poor.

We have done a great deal in the provisioning of grants,” he said.

Ramaphosa said South Africa was the only country that pays social grants to 18 million people.

South Africa also pays at least 10 million people the R350 Social Relief of Distress grants.

Reacting to Ramaphosa’s speech from Saturday, political commentator Dr Ebrahim Harvey told Newzroom Afrika that having 28 million South Africans on social grants was an indictment on the ANC.

“There is a number of lies. The irony of it all is that he pokes at people and he calls them liars. The conditions are worse today but he says this is untrue.

“It is Ramaphosa who must get his head very clear about what has happened. I think he has done the ANC a big disservice and it is an insult to the people. Look what he said about social grants.

“How can you say in 1999 that there was 2.5 million people and now there 28 million people on grants. That is a massive indictment on the ANC. That is a slap in the face of those very same people,” Harvey said.

Another analyst, Yolokwazi Mfuto, said Ramaphosa’s tried too much in his speech to explain what the ANC has done over the years and not on what it has done in the past year.

“The president tried to expand on what the ANC has done and the increase in the number of those who are employed. It was pacifying for the many people who have been employed...

“The president also spoke as if the ANC is not in government but is in opposition. They spoke as if now we are going to start doing things,” Mfuto said.