Pubdate: Mon, 08 Oct 2007
Source: Cape Times (South Africa)
Copyright: 2007 Cape Times
Page 3


Community activists have called for a change in the way the child 
support grant is paid, saying many young mothers addicted to tik are 
using the money to feed their drug habit.

"There should be goals for those receiving child support grants - 
there should not be a dependence on grants," said William Williams, 
programme manager for job-creation NGO Self-Help Manenberg.

"The unemployed receiving social grants should be actively looking 
for work," he said.

He also suggested that instead of cash payouts, grants be paid in 
vouchers that could be exchanged at supermarkets.

He said parents using grant money to fuel their addictions was not new.

"It used to be alcohol, it changed to other substances and now it's 
tik. Family members should report to social services anyone using 
grant money to pay for tik," said Williams.

"Also, tik dealers target kids, and our job is to prevent kids going 
in that direction."

Abeda Benjamin, who converted her Mitchells Plain home into a drug 
rehabilitation centre, said there were "many cases" where mothers 
used their child support grants to buy drugs.

"I once treated a tik addict with three children who would run to the 
tik dealers whenever she got paid the child support grant," she said.

This had stopped only after the woman's mother reported her to social 
services and the children were transferred into their grandmother's care.

"If Social Services does not do something about this it will get out 
of hand, because a lot of tik addicts are giving birth to babies, in 
some instances prostituting themselves for the drug," said Benjamin.

Ellapen Rapiti, a family doctor working in Mitchells Plain, said the 
easy availability of child support grants worsened the problem of 
young women abusing tik.

"The willy-nilly dishing out of money will not solve the problem [of 
poverty]. We need to get the families [of these young women] involved."

Rapiti said in instances where it could be proved mothers were 
addicted to drugs, they should be prevented from receiving child 
support grants. "Social services should ensure that parents show they 
are drug-free. The government needs to review and revamp its social 
grants policy," says Rapiti.

Henry da Grass, general manager of grant administration for the SA 
Social Security Agency, said no complaints had been received about 
mothers using their grant payments to buy tik.

"We are aware of money-lenders at paypoints demanding money from 
grant recipients and asking astronomical interest rates," said Da Grass.

He appealed to anyone with information about abuses to call 021 469 0256.
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MAP posted-by: Keith Brilhart