Tough decisions for ANC

Eric Naki

Eric Naki

Children as old as 18 might soon be entitled to receive child support grants as part of an effort to increase the reach of the social- security net.

The proposal is is one of the recommendations that will be tabled at the ANC national policy conference in Midrand, Johannesburg, from June 27 to 30.

ANC branches are concerned about the void left between the current age cutoff of 14 and 18- year-olds. They have recommended the age should be expanded to vulnerable children older than 14.

Thoko Didiza, the ANC's head of social transformation, told journalists at Luthuli House yesterday that members felt that the gap between 14 and 18 left too many children in a poverty trap.

The proposal considered that chances of getting employment were limited before the voting age of 18. It suggested there be a progressive movement towards 18-year-olds over a few years.

The recommendation forms part of a proposed comprehensive social-security system that includes equalisation of the age to qualify for an old-age pension between men and women.

Didiza said the submissions by party branches had not specified if the qualifying age should be brought down from 65 to 60 for men or moved up from 60 to 65 for women.

"The upcoming policy conference provides us with the opportunity to measure our performance against the resolutions of the Stellenbosch [ANC national] conference and the mandate of the 2004 and 2006 elections," Didiza said.

The recommendations centred on social services such as education, health, social development, land and agriculture, housing and sport transformation.

On education, the policy of no-fee schools or provision of free primary education should be expanded to high-school level considering poverty levels in South Africa..

Other recommendations were:

l The state should speed up land acquisition by expropriating property in the public interest;

l It should regulate the ownership of land by foreigners and reject market-driven land reform;

l The state should intervene in the residential property market to curb spiralling prices;

l It should stablish a single national health system;

l It should introduce a single emblem for all sporting codes.

Didiza said it was important for the principle of "willing seller, willing buyer" to be reviewed if the target of transferring 30 percent of land to blacks was to be achieved by 2014.