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Grants make people lazy and dependent on the government. Myth or fact?

20 March 2015 2:06 PM
Africa Check released a fact sheet busting myths surrounding South African social grants.

The number of people receiving social grants in South Africa has increased exponentially over the years. In 1994 there were about 4 million people receiving grants and by 31 August 2014 the number changed to 16.3-million.

Here are the social grants administered by The South African Social Service Agency (SASSA):

Child Support Grant - The value of the Child Support Grant is R330 per month (as of April 2015)

Older Person's Grant - The value of the Older Person's Grant is R1428 per month (as of April 2015). If you are over the age of 75 you will receive an additional R21 a month (as of April 2015).

Disability Grant - The maximum value of the Disability Grant is R1410 per month (as of April 2015).

Grant-in-Aid - The value of Grant in Aid is R310

Care Dependency Grant - The value of the Care Dependency Grant is R1410 per month (as of April 2015).

War Veteran's Grant - The maximum value of the grant is R1410 per month (as of April 2015).

Foster Child Grant - The value of the Foster Child Grant is R830 per month.

702/CapeTalk presenter Redi Tlhabi had an interview with Louise Ferreira, a journalist for Africa Check, on some of the myths surrounding Social Grants in South Africa.

The myths include:

  • Grants make people lazy and dependent on the government.
  • The child grant increases teenage pregnancy.
  • Parents claim grants for children who don’t live with them.
  • Recipients misuse grant money.

Africa Check myth busting facts:

“Grants make people lazy and dependent on the government.”

Research by the Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit (SALDRU) based in the School of Economics at the University of Cape Town shows that “there is little empirical evidence” to support claims that people stop looking for jobs when they receive a grant. The Centre for Social Development in Africa (CSDA) report also supports research that “grant recipients do not wish to be ‘dependent’ on cash transfers and continue to place a high value on paid employment” and that they are “extremely motivated to get work and want to exit the welfare system as soon as they can”.

“The child grant increases teenage pregnancy.”

A previous piece by Africa Check has shown the claim to be untrue as very few teenage mothers actually access the grant.

“Parents claim grants for children who don’t live with them.”

The CSDA report shows that the “overwhelming majority of beneficiary children [92.2 percent] lived with the caregiver in the household”.

“Recipients misuse grant money.”

Although some people do misuse their grant, for example, by abusing alcohol, the CSDA report shows that “[grant] monies are mainly used for food and some basic non-food items such as school fees and uniforms, health and transport”.

Ferreira said that these myths persist because, from the look of things, it sounds like these people are getting money for doing absolutely nothing. A study by the Centre for Social Development in Africa (CSDA) at the University of Johannesburg shows that even beneficiaries themselves believe the stories.

Listen to Louise Ferreira as she unpacks the misconceptions around social grants in South Africa.


20 March 2015 2:06 PM