Ramaphosa lauds expansion of social protection system


South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa.

JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa has hailed South Africa’s social protection system as one of the biggest achievements by the post-apartheid government.

He refuted criticism that the expansion of the system was a sign of rising poverty.

Ramaphosa said instead, it supports economic growth “from the bottom up”, enables business activity and strengthens social solidarity and stability.

“It is one of the greatest achievements of our democratic society, and one that we should all be proud of,” the president stated in his weekly letter.

He wrote as the country ends Human Rights Month, marked in March.

Ramaphosa said the right to social security is in the Bill of Rights. He said this was an approach that recognised that social security was essential to other rights, including the right to dignity, he said.

“It is this right that has underpinned the progressive expansion of South Africa’s social protection system over the past three decades.”

He said in 1999, five years after independence, over 2,5 million people were receiving social grants. The number has increased to over 18 million people. This is almost a third of the population.

In addition, more than two million indigent households also receive free basic water, basic electricity and solid waste removal services.

The Social Relief of Distress (SRD) Grant that was introduced in 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic has reached more than 11 million people at its peak.

A study by the University of Johannesburg of informal traders in the Johannesburg CBD, Orange Farm, Mthatha, Mqanduli and Warwick Junction in Durban, found that the SRD grant stimulated customer spending, provided capital to purchase stock and enabled the new businesses to be initiated.

Another recent study by the University of Cape Town the SRD grant also increased the probability of recipients searching for jobs and gaining employment.

– CAJ News























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