State, deliver those grants
MP MKHULEKO Hlengwa summarised the feelings of many South Africans, particularly those who receive income grants, when he said: “We will receive satisfaction once these things are signed and delivered.”
Hlengwa was reacting to Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe’s announcement that a team led by the Department of Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation’s director-general would drive a process aimed at quelling anxiety and fear that there might be further delays when an entity replacing Cash Paymaster Services takes over the payment of social grants. The devil is indeed in the detail. It is common cause that by now CPS should no longer have been part of the conversation on the distribution of grants. Yet for some reason it is.
The Ministry of Social Development has appeared intent on ensuring the company stays on – if not as the sole service provider then in some or other role.
Returning the payment of social grants to an entity other than the current service providers is more than a business decision.
Getting the social payment regime right will send the message that the country is on its way to repairing its image as a land where elites do as they please with the public kitty. The millions who depend on social grants deserve to rest assured that they will get their share of the social wage.
Those who contribute towards this social justice requirement via their taxes are entitled to demand and see that the state does what is right.
The state has the fiduciary duty to ensure that the billions distributed reach the intended beneficiaries in the most financially sustainable manner, and meet the state’s commitment to black economic empowerment and transfer of skills.