‘Before the elections, they assured us about grants’

2017-02-26 06:10
Pensioner Marere Fani says his family will not survive without their social grants. Picture: Lubabalo Ngcukana

Pensioner Marere Fani says his family will not survive without their social grants. Picture: Lubabalo Ngcukana

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East London - 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 came 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.

Read more on:    east london  |  social grants

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