Never fear, you will get your grant money - Zuma

2017-03-21 14:37
President Jacob Zuma. (File, City Press)

President Jacob Zuma. (File, City Press)

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Cape Town – President Jacob Zuma has again called on the elderly and recipients of grants not to fear - they will get their money at the end of the month.

“Yes, there were problems, but they have now been sorted. Let me again assure the grandmothers and grandfathers, the disabled, the children, you will get your money. Do not be scared,” Zuma said to thunderous applause.

The president was addressing government’s official Human Rights Day celebrations in the Eastern Cape on Tuesday, where he paid tribute to black consciousness leader Steve Biko.

He also called for the country to unite against all evil.

Zuma spoke of the fight against racism, the government's plan for education, housing and equality; and also addressed the Sassa crisis, which had been in the spotlight recently.

On Friday, the Constitutional Court ruled that Cash Paymaster Services should continue distributing social grants for a year, after the South African Social Security Agency was unable to insource the service.

Zuma on Tuesday lauded the grants system as the largest support system for the poor.

“To provide further assistance, government is seeking to amend the Social Assistance Act to enable government to provide funeral benefits to elderly and savings for caregivers of children,” he said.

Memory of Steve Biko

Zuma paid tribute to all who died in the struggle for their selfless contribution and said their sacrifices would never be forgotten. 

The marking of this day was borne out of huge sacrifices made by brave men and women who fought for freedom in the face of extreme brutality, Zuma told thousands of supporters.

“We must come together to celebrate our national heroes and ensure our youth and future generations know and understand their contribution and what they stood for. In the memory of Biko, let us promote the emancipation of the mind,” he said.

He said the country came from a history where there was scant regard for fundamental human rights.

“It is most fitting that we pause and remember the past so as to learn from it and never repeat its wrongs. We also use this day to take stock of progress in promotion of human rights, recommit ourselves to advance human rights and restoration of dignity to black people in particular who were brutalised by colonialism and apartheid.”

Radical economic transformation

In a speech that was reminiscent of his State of the Nation Address, Zuma again said radical economic transformation and land restitution was a priority.

He said the economy had to be unbundled so that black people could enter into mainstream of the economy.

Government would continue to work with labour and business to ensure this, he said.

“As part of our commitment to the restoration of human dignity of our people, we will be taking practical and reasonable measures to return the land to the people.

"We will use all available instruments necessary in expediting land restitution and respond to land hunger,” he said.

The high crime rate was also a concern, he said, mentioning the taxi violence in Mthatha which has claimed “a few lives”.

“Crime in rural areas does not obtain a high profile as that in urban cities but it is equality traumatic for residents. We call upon the police to act decisively against criminals who terrorise our people.”

He said they were following up on issues raised by communities, and that the anti-crime road show continued.

The sacrifices made for freedom should never be forgotten, the president concluded.

“We must continue to build a South Africa that will enshrine the human rights of all, regardless of class and gender, every citizen has right to life, security.

That is why today we are emphasising unity among ourselves against all evil,” he said.

Commemorations

The programme was led by Eastern Cape Arts and Culture MEC, Pemmy Majodina and Arts Minister Nathi Mthethwa.

Delivering the welcome address, Eastern Cape Premier Phumulo Masualle said on this day, they remembered all who fought for freedom and lost their lives in different circumstances.

Dozens had done in the Sharpeville Massacre, he said, and their only sin was not wanting to use the dompas.

Mthethwa said the day marked the achievement of ordinary South Africans, which did not come cheap.

Meanwhile, the Pan African Congress gathered at the Langa Memorial Square in Cape Town to commemorate the massacre.

The party moved around in Langa township, and the celebrations also included a wreath laying ceremony.

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  east london

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