Addressing the Heritage Foundation, Washington on April 29 2015, Frans Cronje head of The Institute for Race Relations stated that: “Significant progress has been made with the goal of promoting increasing dependence on the government. More than 16m people (close on a third of SA’s population) now receive cash grants from the State every month, while millions also benefit from a wider ‘social wage’ that includes free housing, largely free basic education, and free basic electricity and water”. futurefact finds that 27% of households (throughout South Africa but excluding deep rural communities of less than 500 people) receive a child grant (increasing to 40% in households in LSM 1-6). In one out of five middle class households, someone is collecting a child grant. Acceptance of the idea of dependence on the state is high with around 9 out of 10 South Africans (of all races) supporting a national health scheme and 85% favouring child grants.
An interesting question that arises is whether this belief that ‘the state will provide’ contributes to 30% of South Africans saying they would rather be unemployed than take a low-status job.
Nonetheless, challenging the apparent culture of dependency, futurefact also finds that the majority of South Africans recognise that “the only way we can get things done is by doing them ourselves - there is no point in waiting for the authorities or our leaders to provide for us”.
It would seem then that the truth lies somewhere in between. South Africans recognise that there has to be some intervention by the state to take care of the large number of poor and unemployed people in the country but also believe that it is up to them to take responsibility for their own lives.