Lamb for 12 on $400 Monthly Shows South Africa Welfare Addiction – Social Welfare in South Africa

Posted by Jimmy Minnish on February 25, 2014 under Links | Be the First to Comment

Photographer: Andrew Aitchison/In Pictures/Corbis

A South African woman hangs her family’s laundry on a make-shift washing line between.


“Even if it was in the Cape. Even if it was kitchen work.”

Matthys, like many of her generation, says she believes the child grants have indirectly promoted pregnancy among young girls.

“That is why they make so many children, because they get money from the state,” she said. “The state should give money to those who can appreciate it. But what does the government know about what life is like?”

In a cool office in the social services building, which consists partly of an old shipping container covered in colorful children’s drawings, social worker Anita Farmer said the social grants have pluses and minuses.

Nothing Expected

“Some peoples’ parents think it’s their money, that ‘The state pays me to have a child,’” Farmer said. “But some manage to stretch and stretch that money for the maximum benefit of the child.”

The problem with the grant system is that nothing is expected from the recipients in return for the grant, Farmer said.

“A whole culture of ‘I have to receive, I am dependent’ has been created,” she said.

Back at the Matthys home, Umego, the foster daughter, says she only finished grade nine in 2013. After completing the next year at the school across the street, she wants to go to the neighboring town of Calvinia, about 150 kilometers away, for the rest of high school.

“I want to be a social worker,” she said shyly. “It has also been my dream.”

He also had dreams, said Umego’s cousin, Gavilan, sitting on the curb in front of a Chinese-owned store on the main road.

At 24, he is one of two people in the Matthys house who doesn’t bring in any money, either by working or being eligible for benefits. He left school after grade nine and worked for Transnet SOC Ltd. for four years as a general worker before being fired for absenteeism. He has been unemployed for two years.

“I am just around here,” he said, waving his arm at the street. “I look for casual work if I can, like loading animal feed off trucks.”

He feels like he isn’t fulfilling his duties at home, Gavilan said.

“Those are two old people who have to provide for us,” he said about his grandparents. If there were no old-age pension or social grants to sustain the family “then I would have had to jump out and find work,” he said… Read More

To contact the reporter on this story: Rene Vollgraaff in Johannesburg at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nasreen Seria at

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