Plight of Mpumalanga family of six surviving off pension grant

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Government’s social security programmes are hailed as some of the successes of the democratic dispensation.

In 1994, just 2 million people received social grants. The number has now gone up to over 17 million, with at least 3.5 million of the beneficiaries being the elderly.

South Africa’s old-age pension programme was first established in 1928 for white and coloured populations.

Although modestly extended to the Black majority in 1944, it was only in early 1990 that the system was broadened to accommodate all South Africans.

While it is hailed as one of the world’s most generous social safety nets, the high cost of living and high unemployment rate mean pensioners, especially in rural areas, often find themselves having to choose between buying food for their families and repairing their dilapidated homes.

 According to Stats SA, about 32.5% of households headed by the elderly have five or more members and at least more than half of the pensioners live with unemployed children or grandchildren.

SABC Mpumalanga Editor Jonathan Lungu caught up with 92-year-old Chrestina Chuluku who uses her pension money to take care of her five grand-children.

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