Activists call for the sick to get grants

Zinhle Mapumulo

Zinhle Mapumulo

Aids activists are calling on the Department of Social Development to reconsider the qualification criteria for the temporary disability grant.

Chloe Hardy, of the Aids Law Project, said thousands are dying while waiting to get access to the temporary grant.

"The department must urgently come up with a solution. Why should a person be seriously ill to qualify for a grant? Why can't they help a person who is on an antiretroviral programme and needs to stay healthy instead of waiting for the person to be bedridden, then offer a hand?" said Hardy.

Currently the government offers a temporary disability grant of R780 to seriously ill people who cannot work. A person has toproduce medical proof that they can't work to qualify for the grant. The grant is given for 12 months, after which recipients must reapply.

The Treatment Action Campaign said that accessing the temporary grant is a serious problem that must be revised.

"Getting access to the grant shouldn't be a matter of how ill one is. If you are HIV positive and need help to remain healthy, the department should lend a hand. People on the ARV programme deserve to get access to the grant," said Ralph Berold of TAC.

Department spokesman Lakela Kaunda said: "The department is evaluating the qualification criteria."