Social grants shouldn't be political pay-offs - FF+

Conrad Beyers asks whether ruling party is trying to keep its supporters poor and dependent


The Freedom Front Plus said that it is critically important that poverty in South Africa should be fought but warned that the perception is beginning to form that the ANC is abusing social grants in an attempt to retain political power.

It follows comments by preeminent South Africans in which serious criticism was raised about corruption and the government's use of social grants and black economic empowerment (BEE). The criticism was expressed by amongst others, Dr. Franklin Sonn, businessman and former ambassador, Mr. Tony Ehrenreich of Cosatu and Mr. Moeletsi Mbeki, political analyst and brother of former president Mbeki, during a conference on poverty which was hosted jointly by the Dutch Reformed Church and the United Reformed Church.

According to Dr. Conrad Beyers, FF Plus spokesperson on Finance, two comments made by Mr. Mbeki is particularly worrying if it is to be true. These comments are:

That the ANC is buying votes through their use of social grants, and

That the ANC possibly has a vested interest in keeping impoverished people poor and uneducated.

"If the ANC is using social grants to nearly 15 million people as political bribes, history will point it out as being one of the most serious and undemocratic abuses in South Africa's history. This will in effect mean that a dwindling number of taxpayers are paying to keep a largely incompetent, expensive and corrupt government permanently in power. The FF Plus is worried that the initial honest intentions of the social grants are busy developing into an economic and political monster which will destroy the country in the long run," Dr. Beyers said.

The FF Plus furthermore said that a second comment of Mbeki is shocking and is unfortunately being confirmed by the comments of ANC leaders such as Julius Malema, who encourage poor households to have more children despite the destructive financial effect of it on poor families.

The FF Plus is of the opinion that poverty in South Africa is a time bomb which has to be defused through sustainable job creation, economic growth and responsible and well-planned social programmes.

Statement issued by Dr. Conrad Beyers, FF Plus Chief Spokesperson: Finance, March 17 2011

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