SOCIAL Development Minister Edna Molewa yesterday defended the government's welfare system amid reports that SA had become the biggest welfare state in the world.
"It is difficult for the government to close its eyes when people are suffering and do not have anything to eat," Molewa said at a social development briefing in Cape Town.
"The grant system was not intended to be permanent, particularly in the area of young mothers."
Economist Mike Schüssler said last week that South Africa was now "the biggest welfare state in the world" and that the grant system was unsustainable.
"Look at SA's dependency ratio - it's three people to one taxpayer."
Yearly expenditure on grants is about R89billion. in the current fiscal year.