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LOBAMBA – “Akunamali,” (there is no money). This was the message relayed by the acting Prime Minister (PM), Paul Dlamini, to Members of Parliament (MPs) yesterday afternoon.

The negative message only earned Cabinet another immediate kicking out from the House of Assembly.
On Wednesday, the MPs had sent Cabinet to come back with responses on how they would address the issue of the non-payment of the grants for the elderly who had turned 60 this financial year and further address how patients under the Phalala Fund would be assisted.
However, in response the DPM came back with news that did not sit well with of the MPs as he minced no words in saying the new elderly would not be paid because there was no money budgeted for them. 

This earned him the wrath of the MPs who said they had not tasked Cabinet with telling them that there was no money, but to have a plan on how the two issues would be addressed.
In his statement, the acting PM said, “Cabinet wishes to state that it is a long process to include every elderly who has just turned 60 years into the database and that cannot happen overnight.”

Dlamini said these new elderly had not been budgeted for by government nor was an allocation made by Parliament.  “Parliament is requested to observe the set budgetary processes and not set a precedent,” said Dlamini.
He said government was not reneging on its commitment to support the welfare of the elderly, but was resource constrained.
Dlamini said the elderly would gradually be budgetted for and absorbed into the system accordingly which was why allowing the continued registration further confirmed its commitment.

On the Phalala Medical Referral Scheme, the acting PM said the major challenge had been the increase in the number of patients requiring assistance under the fund and the escalating fees associated with the referrals. “This has led to the country owing huge amounts of monies to the medical facilities and service providers in South Africa,” said Dlamini.

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