AEC Note: Anytime the community highlights issues of corruption, party politics and unfair distribution of services, the government claims the leaders are misleading the community. The truth is that these grants are being handed out by the local ANC councillor to local ANC supporters.March 03, 2009 Edition 1 Natasha Prince Source: Cape Argus
Guguletu’s social development department was forced to lock its gates when a group of residents arrived at the provincial offices yesterday to demand social grants.
The leadership of the area’s Anti-Eviction Campaign (AEC) arranged for about 50 residents to march peacefully from the Guguletu sports complex to the department yesterday in an attempt to put pressure on the government to assign more social relief grants to more residents.
The social development department’s spokeswoman, Lungelwa Mbude, said, however, that the move was in vain because the grants could not be allocated.
The department’s management was confronted by the disgruntled residents, who stood outside the premises singing and chanting for most of yesterday morning, demanding that the social relief grants, officially allocated to a limited sector of people “in need”, be made available to a wider range of candidates.
More than a month ago, AEC members compiled a list of the personal details of thousands of residents of Guguletu and surrounding areas, which they say was handed in to the department in order to facilitate the grants.
The AEC said they had submitted a list of 10 000 names.
But Mbude said that no such list had been received by the department and that the AEC leadership had been misleading the community.
AEC Guguletu leader Mncedisi Twalo said the protest had been called because the residents needed to get feedback from the department. Many more people were in dire need of the grants, he said.
“This will be a continual thing until March 19, when they are supposed to dish out money. It is election time now and people won’t participate if they don’t get this grant,” Twalo said.
However, the social relief grant is a temporary relief measure, which is available to residents in distress.
Only a limited number of these grants are allocated over a period of three months.
In November, Social Development Minister Zola Skweyiya made available an additional R500 million for Social Relief of Distress, which he stipulated was to have been shared by the nine provinces.
The Western Cape was allocated R21.5 million.
Mbude said yesterday that Twalo had been warned about misleading the community and that he had not been authorised to gather residents’ personal details to be handed in to the department.
“We have continuously explained to the community that anyone who feels they qualify should apply through the normal processes… Mr Twalo is being irresponsible by misleading the people.”