EFF’s Vision for Social Development: Building a More Equitable South Africa

Published Feb 18, 2024


Laeticia Arries

In South Africa, social development stands at a critical juncture, marked by pervasive inequality, poverty, and systemic barriers that hinder the realisation of individual potential and societal progress. Despite strides made in various sectors, millions of South Africans continue to grapple with poverty, unemployment, and limited access to essential services. The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) recognises these challenges as urgent calls to action, advocating for a holistic approach to social development that prioritises the well-being and empowerment of every citizen.

At the heart of the EFF's vision for social development, as demonstrated in our 2024 manifesto, lies a commitment to dismantling barriers and fostering an environment where all individuals can pursue their dreams with confidence and dignity. Central to this mission is the redefinition of 'social development' to encompass not only public assistance but also economic, social, and political well-being. By addressing the root causes of inequality and deprivation, the EFF aims to create pathways for marginalised communities to achieve self-sufficiency and participate fully in society.

Firstly, the EFF is dedicated to combating the stigma often associated with welfare programmes, acknowledging the inherent dignity of those who require government support. Recognising that societal progress hinges on the collective advancement of both individuals and communities, the EFF’s manifesto focusses on initiatives that enhance freedom of choice and empower individuals to fulfils their aspirations independently. One significant aspect of this strategy involves substantially increasing social grants across various categories, such as grants for older persons, war veterans, individuals with disabilities, and foster children, among others. These increases in social grants are aimed at providing greater financial support to vulnerable populations, which is why we will be introducing a grant specifically targeted at unemployed graduates who are increasingly suffering from high rates of unemployment.

Moreover, the EFF is dedicated to introducing innovative initiatives to address societal challenges and improve access to essential services. By leveraging technology to streamline the distribution of social grants, the EFF aims to reduce queues at payment points and enhance efficiency in service delivery. Additionally, we committ to building fee-free retirement villages and old age homes, and subsidising fares for senior citizens on public transportation, simply because those who have contributed to our country deserve the social services they inputted into during their lifetime. Furthermore we commit to distributing sanitary products for free in public spaces underscoring our broader objective of ensuring dignity, equality, and inclusivity for all citizens. These proactive measures reflect the EFF's vision for comprehensive social development that prioritises the needs and well-being of marginalised and vulnerable groups across South Africa.

The EFF remains committed to empowering the youth by providing access to finance and markets, internship opportunities, and impactful skills development programs. It is important to equip young people with the tools they need to succeed, and we aim to create an environment where youth can thrive economically and professionally. By facilitating access to finance and markets, the government seeks to enable young entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses, fostering innovation and job creation. Additionally, through internship and learnership programs, as well as skills development initiatives, the EFF aims to equip youth with the practical knowledge and experience needed to enter the workforce and contribute meaningfully to the economy.

Furthermore, the EFF government prioritises education as a fundamental right for all children of school-going age. We intend to provide free education and ensure access to Early Childhood Development (ECD) programs in order to create a strong foundation for learning and development from a young age. Ensuring that all children receive nutritious meals at schools and ECD centres is another crucial aspect of the EFF's approach to social development, as proper nutrition is essential for children's health and cognitive development.

Moreover, the EFF is committed to addressing social issues within educational settings by introducing effective programs aimed at preventing bullying. There have been many cases of young children taking their lives due to bullying in schools due to being a part of the LGBTQIA+ community, so it is important to provided timely interventions when necessary. Additionally, the provision of a Monthly Nutritional Pack for indigent families, the introduction of Ward-based Social Workers, and the expansion of social packages for vulnerable households demonstrate the EFF's holistic approach to addressing the various needs of communities and ensuring that no one is left behind in South Africa's journey towards social development and prosperity.

A crucial element in social development is ensuring comprehensive support services for vulnerable individuals and families, including efficient adoption, foster care, co-parenting, and guardianship services. By establishing specialised centres equipped to receive those in need, the government aims to ensure that individuals facing challenging circumstances receive the necessary care and support to thrive. Moreover, the EFF government recognises the importance of accessibility for all members of society, particularly pensioners, persons with disabilities, and orphans. To facilitate their access to social grant pay points and essential services, the government will provide free transport, ensuring that no one is left behind due to mobility challenges or financial constraints.

Furthermore, the EFF government is committed to addressing the needs of individuals who may be unable to access social grant pay points due to illness or disability. Through coordinated efforts, the EFF will arrange for grants and basic essentials to be delivered to those who are sick or physically unable to travel, ensuring that they receive the support they require on a monthly basis. Additionally, recognising the unique challenges faced by children living in child-headed households, the government will prioritise placing them into foster care arrangements where they can receive the care, support, and guidance needed for their well-being and development.

Finally we face a huge problem of substance abuse in South Africa, that is wholly connected to the challenges of the unhoused. The EFF intends to oversee the establishment of both in-patient and out-patient substance abuse rehabilitation facilities in our commitment to addressing the root causes of societal challenges and providing pathways to recovery and rehabilitation for those struggling with addiction. We are committed to a healthy society that enhances familial bonds, and we will enhance our stance by creating programmes to reunify displaced persons, including those living and working on the streets, with their families, fostering a sense of belonging and stability within communities.

In conclusion, EFF envisions a more equitable South Africa where every citizen has the opportunity to thrive and contribute meaningfully to society. Our manifesto’s vision for social development embodies a commitment to dismantling barriers, combating inequality, and fostering holistic economic and social advancement. By redefining social development to encompass economic, social, and political well-being, we seek to address the root causes of poverty, unemployment, and deprivation, ensuring that all South Africans can reach their full potential with dignity and confidence.

Laeticia Arries is an EFF Member of Parliament

The Star