Provincial Health and Social Development MEC Clifford Mkasi raised the problem at the launch of Social Development Month in Mbombela.
“People who are coming from neighbouring countries to collect social grants are becoming a nightmare in our department. These people are also sleeping over at the pay points because they don’t have a place to sleep, making the queues very long,” said Mkasi.
He said the problem was serious because more than 1.3 million people in Mpumalanga rely on social grants.
An interdepartmental campaign involving Home Affairs, Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Administration and the South African Police Service is to crack down on the offenders and ensure that only deserving people receive social grants.
“We have identified programmes aimed at ensuring that families stand on a solid ground of sustainable growth. In all activities, we will ensure that we bring a basket of programmes and services from the Department of Social Development, South African Security Social Agency and the National Development Agency,” said Mkasi.
Mkasi said the programmes include early childhood development, foster care, youth development, victim empowerment, HIV and Aids and older persons and people with disabilities.
“We are encouraging everyone in the rural villages to stay alert and engage with the department. This month creates an opportunity for the department to intensify dialogue with communities,” he said.
The MEC also promised to reinstate legitimate social grant beneficiaries who were temporarily cut off when their grants were reviewed.
“We need to review more than 100 000 beneficiaries annually so that we can be sure that there are no ‘ghost’ beneficiaries and it sometimes takes months,” he explained.
Social Development Month starts at the beginning of October and aims to take social development services to rural areas.
Some of the events lined up this month include the celebration of International Day for Older Persons in Mashishing and the International Day for Eradication of Poverty in Barberton. – Buanews