Social Grants Will Disappear if the Corrupt ANC is Re-elected

Social Grants Will Disappear if the Corrupt ANC is Re-elected

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By Anele Zulu

That was the urgent warning sounded by President Cyril Ramaphosa at a packed African National Congress (ANC) rally when he predicted collapse of pivotal upliftment services like the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) and National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) should the ANC cede governmental power after the pivotal 2024 elections.

But just how realistic are threats that over 18 million SASSA grant beneficiaries and 1.9 million tertiary students could see critical financial aid evaporate practically overnight under a new administration?

Ramaphosa Stokes Baseless Election Fears Through Doomsday Warnings

President Ramaphosa is clearly employing dramatic fearmongering as a tactic to retain ANC dominance in the 2024 elections. By raising the specter that vital social welfare programs like SASSA and NSFAS could instantly disappear if the ANC loses control of government, he blatantly appeals to vulnerable demographics to vote solely for presumed self-interest, not future-focused policy.

With nearly 26 million South Africans currently SASSA aid recipients, and SASSA grants critically needing reform to catch up to runaway inflation, Ramaphosa essentially holds the livelihoods of a quarter of the population hostage to secure ANC victory. Meanwhile, the 1.9 million tertiary students dependent on NSFAS have also been given the message that their academic futures hinge solely on ANC retention of power.

Political Self-sabotage: Why No Party Can Afford to Dismantle Social Upliftment?

Given estimates suggest about 19 million South Africans still live below the poverty line of R35 daily, instant dissolution of anti-poverty programming like SASSA and NSFAS would equal political self-destruction for any incoming administration post-election.

With such a substantial portion of the populace still underserved and vulnerable, abruptly halting cash aid channels as critical lifelines would create widespread humanitarian crisis and civil unrest any new president or ruling party would need to immediately redress, likely restoring the same services.

Opposition Offers Expanded Social Welfare, Not Decimation

Contrary to President Ramaphosa’s dire predictions, opposition parties like the Democratic Alliance and Economic Freedom Fighters have put forward policy plans clearly outlining intentions to expand, not erase, social welfare services.

Once corrupt officials are removed from departmental oversight and funds lost to graft and misspending under ANC rule are recouped, both parties present credible pathways to elevating cash assistance programs. The DA, for example, advocates lifting all social grants above the food poverty line by cutting governmental excess and redirecting savings directly to the poor.

The Real Threat to Sustaining Social Upliftment: Ongoing ANC Corruption

While President Ramaphosa continues using eyebrow-raising political theatrics to suggest vital social services face only one outcome, total collapse, should there be any shift from ANC control, the far bigger long-term threat remains ongoing corruption that has steadily drained resources under their management for decades.

SASSA grants have failed to keep pace with runaway inflation throughout ANC rule. Simultaneously, ANC cadres have allegedly syphoned billions in public funds into private accounts. A president truly committed to safeguarding critical anti-poverty programming would acknowledge it is only possible if the endemic graft that has marked his party’s administration is rooted out for good.

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