An investigation by Fin24 has revealed just how much a basic monthly grocery shop costs for a family of five. They discovered it would cost R1, 146.57 a month at the very least.
This is alarming to note, as just last month the ANC Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini claimed that the current monthly social grant of R753 is more than sufficient to support a household.
The investigation exposed that in reality it would cost R393.57 (52%) more to provide a family of five with the bare necessities. Even though, they only bought the cheapest items in modest quantities.
This amount does not even cover transport, electricity or fuel i.e. candles, matches and paraffin, which many poor households rely on for cooking, light, warmth etc.
DA Questions Low Social Grant Increase
When questioned by the DA last month, Dlamini responded that the current social grant is “above the highest upper bound poverty line”.
“Hence these beneficiaries should have enough to buy adequate food as well as additional non-food items,” she asserted.
The DA questioned what factors the government had taken into account when determining the April social grant increase. Moreover, they asked if she considered the increase enough to meet the basic nutritional needs of grant recipients.
The Minister’s ‘insensitive responses’
Dlamini responded that a budget of 8.2% had been allocated for the social grant increase.
“…these increases are constrained by the available budget,” she insisted.
Dlamini has since been criticised for her ‘insensitive responses’. Accordingly, the DA has requested that the minister join them on Wednesday for a grocery shop at the Shoprite in Soweto to see what can be bought with R753 a month.
‘Out of touch with the poor’
“With rising food prices due to the drought and other factors‚ the minister’s claim is deeply insensitive and completely untrue‚” stated DA social development spokesperson, Bridget Masango.
“Whether she made a calculation error or simply never looks at invoices when doing shopping or checking into hotels has rendered her out of touch with the poor, despite being the minister in charge of the most vulnerable in our society.”
The DA has also claimed that Dlamini herself has enjoyed no less than 31 stays at the lavish Oyster Box Hotel in Umhlanga Rocks, KwaZulu-Natal.
“The DA urges Minister Dlamini to break her silence and make public who paid for these stays,” Masango stated.