Confusion over temporary disability grant

The audio is in isiZulu. See English summary below.

MABUTHO: Kuleminyaka emibalwa edlulile umnyango wezenhlalakahle uye wabhekana nokukhula kwezibalo zabantu abafaka izicelo zokuhola impesheni yokugula. Kepha akubona bonke abantu abafaka izicelo zabo ukuthola lempesheni abaphumelelayo njengoba kunenqwaba yabantu abagula kakhulu kodwa abangakwazi ukuthi bayithole lemali. Okumangazayo ukuthi ngezinye izikhathi kuba khona nabangaguli kangako kodwa abayitholayo lemali. Cishe kungalesisizathu esenza ukuthi uPat Mgexelwa oyi Clinic Counselor ngaphansi kwe Reprodutive Health and HIV Research Unit uthi naye useqala ukudideka ukuthi ngempela lemali yempesheni yokugula itholakala kanjani. Uthi ngaphambilini bekunomqondo abantu bebethola lemali uma ngabe betholakala ukuthi labo abanegciwane le HIV bane CD 4 count engaphansi kuka 200 okanye uma kutholakala ukuthi banesifo sofuba iTB.

PAT MGEXELWA: Previously patients used to get grants with a CD 4 count below 200 and when they have TB. Now we are so confused because even a person with a CD 4 count of 2 does not get a grant.

MABUTHO: Uthi okuthanda ukuthi kubamangaze ukuthi kukhona abantu abayitholayo lemali yempesheni yokugula kodwa uma bethi baqala ukubabheka bathole ukuthi sengathi lababantu abaguli ngaleyondlela yokuthi sebengathola lemali.

PAT MGEXELWA: There are patients who are stable who can be able to work, but these patients, sometimes, are given grants. My recommendation is that if Doctors from DSD (District Surgeon Doctors) can attend HIV course so that they can have more clarity on HIV and know more about the side effects of HIV.

MABUTHO: UNick De Villiers ongummeli we Legal Resources Centre uthi lokhu kudideka okukhona kudalwa ukushayisana phakathi komthethosisekelo wezwe kanye nomthetho olawula ukunikezelwa kwalemali iSocial Assistance Act ka 2004. Uthi ngokomthethosisekelo wezwe wonke umuntu unelungelo lokuthola usizo kuhulumeni ukuthi aqhubeke nempilo, kodwa ngakolunye uhlangothi umthetho olawula ezenhlalakahle kubandakanya ukukhishwa kwezimali zezempesheni iSocial Assistance Act uthi ukuze umuntu ayithole lemali yempesheni yokugula kumele kube ukuthi akakwazi ukusebenza ngenxa yokugula.

NICK DE VILLIERS: The Constitution says everybody has access to social security if they are unable to support (themselves). But the regulations under Social Assistance Act say that you must be incapable of entering the labor market. Now there is a tension between those two.

MABUTHO: Uthi okunye okwenza ukuthi kube khona ukudideka kungenxa yokuthi izifundazwe zakuleli ngokuhlukana kwazo zisebenzisa izindlela ezahlukene zokunikezela ngalemali yempesheni yokugula kubantu bazo.

NICK DE VILLIERS: There are discrepancies between the provinces ‘€“ where one province is using one particular test through an assessment panel where socio-economic factors are being considered by the community members in those panels. Spontaneously, those community members are in fact applying the constitutional test. But the doctors are applying the medical test. And that differs according to the provinces.

MABUTHO: Khonamanjalo uDimakatso Moutloatse ongumqondisi emnyangweni wezezimpesheni kuzwelonke uthi ubona ukuthi okuyikhona okubalulekile ukuthi kulwisanwe nobubha nendlala ngenxa yokuthi kunezicelo ezivela ngisho kubantu abangangeni ohlelweni lwabantu okufanele bayithole lemali kodwa abazifakiswa ukuthi badinga imali ukuze baphile.

DIMAKATSO MOTLOATSE: The basic challenge is to address unemployment and poverty. As a result of unemployment and poverty, there is a higher demand for social assistance grants. And that high demand comes even from people who don’€™t fall within the groups that the department has identified to qualify for the grant.

MABUTHO: Uthi okunye okumele kuqondakale ukuthi akuwona umgumo kahulumeni ukuthi bonke abantu abanegciwane leHIV bahole lemali. Kodwa uthi ngezinye izikhathi igcina ingasekho indlela yokulawula ukukhishwa kwalemali yalempesheni nokuholela ekuthenini ngezinye izikhathi kusetshenziswe ububha nendlala ukunikezela ngalemali.

DIMAKATSO MOUTLOATSE: It is not a government policy that being HIV positive qualifies anyone for a grant. But the practice out there faced with poverty is that people end up taking the poverty context and awarding grants to people who are HIV-positive and those who have other chronic illnesses.

MABUTHO: Ngokukasomqulu wamalungelo oluntu kumthethosisekelo uSection 27, sub section, 1, C wonke umuntu unelungelo lokuthola usizo uma engakwazi ukuzisiza yena kanye nalabo abaphila ngaye. Kodwa uSubsection 2 uthi kumele uhulumeni asungule umthetho   ozolawula lokhu ngendlela efanekile. Lomthetho olawula lokhu iSocial Assistance Act ka 2004 ogcizelela ekutheni lowo omele ukuthola imali yempesheni kumele kube ngukuthi udokotela kahulumeni okanye wesifunda athole ukuthi ngempela akakwazi ukuthi azisize yena nomndeni wakhe ukuthi aphile ngenxa yokugula.

Confusion over temporary disability grant

The criteria used to award government temporary disability grant have come under scrutiny. Currently, there is concern that even people who do not ‘€˜deserve’€™ the grant receive it, while there are seriously ill patients who do not receive it.

Pat Mgexelwa, an HIV  counselor at the Reproductive Health and HIV Research Unit, says she is totally confused about the criteria that is used to award temporary disability grants.

‘€œPreviously, patients used to get grants with a CD 4 count below 200 and when they have TB. Now we are so confused because even a person with CD 4 count of 2 does not get a grant. If Doctors from DSD (District Surgeon Doctors) can attend HIV course so that they can have more clarity on HIV and know more about the side effects of HIV,’€ she said.Mgexelwa adds that matters are made even more complex, as ‘€œthere are patients who are stable who can be able to work, but these patients, sometimes, are given grants’€.

According to Nick De Villiers ‘€“ who is a lawyer with the Legal Resources Centre – the whole confusion is caused by the lack of cohesion between the Constitution   and the legislation.

‘€œThe Constitution says everybody has access to social security if they are unable to support (themselves). But the regulations under the Social Assistance Act say that you must be incapable of entering the labor market. Now there is a tension between those two,’€ he said.

de Villiers says what adds to the problem is that the country’€™s provinces are using different procedures to award temporary disability grants.

‘€œThere are discrepancies between the provinces ‘€“ where one province is using one particular test through an assessment panel where socio-economic factors are being considered by the community members in those panels. Spontaneously, those community members are in fact applying the constitutional test. But the doctors are applying the medical test. And that differs according to the provinces,’€ he said.

Meanwhile, Dimakatso Moutloatse, director of disability and old age grants in the National Department of Social Welfare, says the whole confusion is because in some cases the poverty context is used to award these grants.

‘€œThe basic challenge is to address unemployment and poverty. As a result of unemployment and poverty there is a higher demand for social assistance grants. And that high demand comes even from people who don’€™t fall within the groups that the department has identified to qualify for the grant,’€ said Moutloatse.

Asked on whether being HIV-positive does qualify one to receive the grant, she said that ‘€œIit is not a government policy that being HIV-positive qualifies anyone for a grant’€. However, she says, ‘€œthe practice is that people end up taking the poverty context and awarding grants to people who are HIV-positive and those who have other chronic illnesses’€.

According to section 27, 1, C of the Bill of rights of the Constitution everyone has the right to have access to social security, including, if they are unable to support themselves and their dependants. However, according to legislation, the Social Assistance Act, 2004, for any person to get a disability grant, they must be proven by a doctor and the district surgeon that the person’€™s illness renders them unfit to be employed.

 

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