Government gets a thumbs-up for social grants and pensions

Recipients queue at a social grants pay point. (David Harrison, M&G)

Recipients queue at a social grants pay point. (David Harrison, M&G)

The government is doing pensions and social grants right, according to more than 61% of people of all races who took part in a national survey.

Good Governance Africa commissioned the research, which polled 2 245 people in the nine provinces last year for their perceptions of how the government was performing in various areas. The results were published on Monday.

More black than white respondents were upbeat about the government’s distribution of social grants. Among black respondents, 70.6% were positive about the government’s performance on social grants, compared with about 30% of white, coloured and Asian respondents.

More than 18 million people receive social grants in South Africa.

Some 50.5% of respondents thought the government had done well on pensions, compared with 30.5% who thought the opposite.

Whereas 65.3% of black respondents gave the government a positive score on this issue, only about a third of Asian and coloured respondents and half of whites felt the same.

“There is no doubt that the government is still drawing great credit from one of the decisions that it took almost immediately when it came to office in 1994 – to equalise all state pensions at the level paid to whites,” according to the Africa in Fact report in which the research is published.
“This decision has been of fundamental importance in the black community.”

In his budget speech last week, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan did not cut social grants as some observers were expecting.

Overall, however, respondents were less positive about the government, with almost 60% saying “people are giving up hope that the government will listen to them”.

Some 46% of respondents rated the government negatively on health, 44% did so on education, and the state’s handling of law and order got a 57% negative rating.

Only 14.3% of respondents said the government was completely sensitive and accountable to the people.

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