In June 2013, ACESS in partnership with Black Sash and Advocacy Aid undertook a research study aimed at establishing the implementation, rate of use and challenges that may exist in relation to the use of the alternative documentation regulations to access the child support grant (CSG) amongst vulnerable groups of children. The study was conducted in the Eastern Cape and focused on the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro and OR Tambo District. Study participants included the SASSA regional manager, district managers, team leaders and staff in seven local offices, NGOs and CBOs, grant beneficiaries and would be beneficiaries.
Key findings are that identity documents continue to be a problem for vulnerable children and their caregivers, especially orphaned children and those in the care of refugee families. Most of the caregivers interviewed were not aware of Regulation 11 or their rights in this regard. Many of the SASSA officials interviewed understood the objective of the regulation but had not received training on the practical implementation thereof. Those that had received training indicated that they would welcome refresher training. The civil society organisations interviewed were either also unaware of the regulation and focused their attention on assisting clients to access the relevant documents from Home Affairs, or alternatively were aware but pointed to implementation problems picked up through their monitoring and case work.
Through the study it became clear that regulation is not actively promoted to would-be beneficiaries and the officials interviewed confirmed that they were unaware of any SASSA pamphlets or posters that might have been developed to advertise the regulation. According to the district manager there were only approximately ten grants approved using Regulation 11 in the Nelson Mandela Bay district in the last financial year. This is a very worrying picture and the Black Sash is committed, with its partners, to promoting Regulation 11 to ensure that all who qualify for a social grant are able to receive this essential income support.