/ 20 December 2022

Lindiwe Zulu (Grade D)

Lindiwe Zulu: Talking Tough For Zuma

Department of Social Development

Key Goals

1. Improve grant system and prevent fraud: Progress

2. Strengthen prevention and response mechanisms to reduce gender-based violence and femicide: Progress

3. Basic income grant for tabling to cabinet: Progress

4. Address the shortage of social workers: Failed


One of Lindiwe Zulu’s biggest headaches is the poor state of the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa). Just recently she said Sassa underspent close to R2 billion of its budget allocation for Covid-19 relief.

Zulu has also been criticised for the department’s decision that those who earn more than R350 a month do not qualify for the relief grant. This threshold has since been changed to R624.

She has said that record-keeping at the social development department is so inadequate that its “source documentation” cannot support its performance reporting.

The department received a scathing review by the auditor general. The report noted inadequate systems to track the achievement of targets for early childhood development services may have a negative effect on the quality of ECD services provided. The centres have now moved to the department of basic education.

Although some of these issues can be laid at Zulu’s feet, the department has been rudderless for years. During Bathabile Dlamini’s term, she was accused of running Sassa like her own spaza shop. 

Zulu may have inherited the rot but she has had adequate time to steer the ship in the right direction.

Minister Says

In fighting gender based violence the department has worked on supporting nonprofits but the biggest problem is finances and adequate infrastructure. “They want to walk away from the government. That is a challenge.”

The pandemic has allowed the department to bring the homeless into centres, properly budget for them, empower them, and connect some of them to their homes.

“We fought for the R350 to continue and, as you know, it is now extended to the next financial year.

There was a concerted effort to fight corruption through tightening systems and an increased number of people have been arrested and charged. 


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