More than a third of households in ANC strongholds depend on social grants to put bread on the table, reflecting the country’s tightrope walk between social welfare in the world’s most unequal society and economic prudence.

The general household survey by Stats SA, which places the Eastern Cape and Limpopo high in the rankings of child-headed households, shows that social grant beneficiaries climbed from 13% in 2002 to almost 40% in 2023...

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