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Archbishop says Minister Dlamini must quit

Archbishop Emeritus Njongonkulu Ndungane has called for the resignation of Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini who said social grant beneficiaries can live on R753 a month

The former Archbishop of Cape Town‚ who now heads up the continent-wide organisation African Monitor that focuses on grassroots communities‚ added that Dlamini’s statement was ridiculous and an insult to people’s dignity.

Dlamini stated in a reply to a Democratic Alliance parliamentary question that social grant beneficiaries should be able to live on R753 a month to buy “adequate food as well as additional non-food items”.

Ndungane said on Friday: “Minister Dlamini shows through this statement that she is completely out of touch with reality. Indeed‚ her remark is akin to the famous one by Marie Antoinette on the eve of the French Revolution who‚ when told there was no bread for the poor‚ dismissively told them to eat cake.

He added that the recent drought had caused food prices to rise and this was most felt by the poor.

“Poor people have no spare capacity to absorb unexpected price increases. The options for people who are already living with less-than-full stomachs are to eat less‚ or sink even deeper into debt. Neither is a sustainable solution‚ and it is an insult for Minister Dlamini to even suggest that it is possible to live sustainably on this amount‚ never mind emphatically declare that it is‚” he said.

The archbishop noted a study by Standard Bank‚ which found that 62.3% of South African households are low-income earners‚ but which spend up to one third of their available income on food.

 

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