Where are the bank cards, MEC?

Issued by Edmund van Vuuren, MPL
Shadow MEC for Social Development

Nearly two months into the new financial year and the Eastern Cape Department of Social Development has still not distributed the controversial bank cards to needy beneficiaries.

Where are the bank cards MEC, and who are the beneficiaries? Show us the list!

The Department decided to issue people in the province with bank cards pre-loaded with R1 500 cash, after failing to spend more than R141 million entrusted to them by the National Government to provide relief to those in distress.

With local government elections just months away, the entire process raises several red flags.

Notably, the decision to use councillors in the distribution process. One only has to look back at reports of ANC councillors redirecting food parcels earmarked for starving families to look after their own people, to know what risks the promise of free cash has.

The funding, which is part of the R164 million grant funding meant to assist families in dire need, was never spent by the Department, despite the province facing one of the worst years in its history, with millions of people left destitute and starving.

Serious questions still remain unanswered, including how beneficiaries have been selected, and what vetting processes have been done?

The Democratic Alliance is extremely concerned that these funds are not reaching beneficiaries, at a time when the unemployment rate in the province is a staggering 47,9%.

Despite submitting parliamentary questions to MEC Siphokazi Lusithi in April, requesting clarity on the beneficiaries of the bank cards, no responses have been forthcoming!

I will now be writing to the Speaker of the Eastern Cape Legislature, Helen Sauls-August, to request that she instruct the MEC to respond to the questions.

I will also be writing to the Chairperson of the Social Development Portfolio Committee, Nomasikizi Konza, to request that the Department be called before the committee to provide an update on the process, including what steps have been taken to curb fraud and manipulation.

It is simply unacceptable that the people of this province have been left to starve for a year so that the Department can have a cash bonanza giveaway at the end of it.

The DA will be closely monitoring the distribution of these cash cards, and any irregularities found will be reported to the relevant authorities for further investigation.

We need real change that puts the welfare of the people of this province first!