‘Be­fore the elec­tions, they as­sured us about grants’

CityPress - - News - LUBA­BALO NGCUKANA luba­balo.ngcukana@city­press.co.za

Marere Fani (70) re­acted with anger when told the de­part­ment of so­cial de­vel­op­ment might fail to pay so­cial grants be­cause of a con­tract ar­gu­ment.

Fani, a fa­ther of six and grand­fa­ther of three, said the news come to him as a shock when one minute he was cel­e­brat­ing that his R1 500 monthly pen­sion would in­crease by R90, and the next, he had to imag­ine the pos­si­bil­ity that it might not be paid at all.

“The govern­ment must do all they have to and make sure that we are paid the grant. We do not have any other means of liv­ing ex­cept to rely on this grant. We are old and can­not even find work,” he said.

“It is not fair to say so­cial grants might not be paid. If we are not paid, why should [Min­is­ter of So­cial De­vel­op­ment] Batha­bile Dlamini be paid – or any govern­ment of­fi­cial, for that mat­ter?”

Fani, who lives with his wife, Victoria (63), at Elalini in East Lon­don, said his fam­ily was heav­ily de­pen­dent on so­cial grants, in­clud­ing the R350 child sup­port grants for their three grand­chil­dren, aged be­tween seven and 14.

“Our lives would be at a stand­still if grants were not paid. It would mean we would not be able to buy gro­ceries or send chil­dren to school. It would be the end of us.

“That will re­sult in our chil­dren be­com­ing crim­i­nals and pros­ti­tutes. It can­not be al­lowed to hap­pen. We would not sur­vive for even one month,” he said.

Fani said the fam­ily re­ceived about R4 000 a month in grants. Of this, they spent be­tween R700 and R1 000 on gro­ceries, R1 200 to­wards send­ing the chil­dren to school, and the rest they saved for De­cem­ber to use over Christ­mas for buy­ing clothes, school uni­forms and sta­tionery.

“No­body works in this house and we all de­pend on this grant. It is our liveli­hood and can­not be messed around with. Be­fore the elec­tions, they as­sured us about grants, and now we find our­selves in a sit­u­a­tion like this. This is not right,” said Fani.

PHOTO: LUBA­BALO NGCUKANA

RE­LIANT Pen­sioner Marere Fani says his fam­ily will not sur­vive with­out their so­cial grants

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