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Eswatini government announces disbursement of elderly grants

By Ntombi Mhlongo

The government of Eswatini has announced the disbursement of monthly elderly grants.

The announcement was made on Friday following a Cabinet retreat that took stock of the country’s challenges and their possible solutions. It was agreed that with immediate effect, the government will begin the monthly disbursement of elderly and disability grants.

Currently, the elderly receive the grants quarterly and get about E1500. The disbursement has received strong criticism with many pleading with the government to do it monthly. Prime Minister Cleopas Sipho Dlamini said: “I am also happy to announce the immediate commencement of the
funeral cover for the elderly. Through this cover, relatives of deceased elderly will be able to claim E3 000 to help with funeral costs. The modalities of the cover will be announced by the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office”.

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He gave assurance that even in the coming year, the government would continue to take care of the needs of the elderly, people with disability and vulnerable groups in society. He noted that there has been a significant increase in the number of elderly and people with disabilities.

This year, the number of elderly grant beneficiaries is expected to increase by 1 208 and 6 187 for people with disabilities.

“This, therefore, means the social burden for Government also increases. There is a need to review the provision of this benefit to exclude those who may already be benefitting from other schemes provided by the government,” he said.

The PM highlighted that the government was happy to learn the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office will soon be establishing a Council to conduct assessments on who exactly qualifies to be called a person with a disability so that only deserving emaSwati benefit from the grant.

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Also, he said the government will be introducing a new and cost-effective system of disbursing elderly and disability grants. Furthermore, he said the government is working on developing an integrated automated social protection system.

On another note, the PM said the government is also alive of the concerns of the public regarding study loan intake. He said each year, the government receives over 6 000 study loan requests, but the budget is only able to cover 2 550 annually.

“Government is currently developing a new funding model for study loans to ensure that more emaSwati students can be accommodated. This model will be unpacked to the public in due course,” he said.

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