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Resource for Social Security

Taylor Committee Report

The Taylor Committee’s final report is an inquiry into the establishment of a comprehensive social security system. The study recommended that South Africa implement a framework designed to combat high levels of unemployment and poverty. To this end, it calls for the introduction of a universal Basic Income Grant.

Department of the Treasury

The Department of the Treasury outlines a plan which would establish a compulsory social security system providing basic retirement, unemployment, death and disability benefits. All workers employed in the formal sector would be required to contribute a percentage of their earnings up to an agreed income threshold, and the effects of compulsory contributions on low income earners would be offset by a wage subsidy.


Department of Social Development

In 2008, the Department of Social Development produced a Discussion Document containing widespread social security reform proposals. The plan includes the implementation of a mandatory retirement savings framework, the expansion of social assistance grants to effectively support South Africa’s most vulnerable populations, and several measures designed to streamline the administration of social security.    


Civil Society Platform

In response to the Department of Social Development’s reform proposal, several civil society organisations convened for a series of consultative conferences to lay the foundation for social security advocacy going forward. The result of these conferences was a platform outlining five underlying principles that should guide the conversation of social security reform.


What is the Potential of Cash Transfers to Strengthen Families affected by HIV and AIDS? - A Review of the Evidence on Impacts and Key Policy Debates

A new focus on the vulnerability of families, and threats to the human capital of children with lifelong and intergenerational consequences, has accelerated international, regional, and national commitments to social protection programs in heavily AIDS-affected countries. Social protection in the form of cash transfers—which can provide support for food purchases, transportation, education, health care and other expenses—is receiving increasing recognition as an important part of a comprehensive AIDS response.

Is there a rationale for conditional cash transfers for children in South Africa?

The South African state awards unconditional means-tested cash transfers to the caregivers of some eight million poor children. Amidst increasing demands on the state for social assistance, the question has been asked: should the Child Support Grant (CSG) be made conditional on education or health related behaviour to enhance its effectiveness? Issues relating to the popular Latin American conditional cash transfer programmes for children are summarised. The history, current reach and impact of the CSG are described, as well as administrative strengths and weaknesses in delivery.

Department for International Development Cash Transfers Evidence Paper

This paper provides a synthesis of current global evidence on the impact of cash transfers in developing countries and of what works in different contexts, or for different development objectives.

Linking social grants beneficiaries to poverty alleviation and economic activity

This discussion document is aimed at proposing strategies to link the beneficiaries of grants and the unemployed to economic activity. Beneficiaries are unlikely to be in a position to use their social grant income to invest in wealth creating ventures. Instead, an investigation into the possibilities of creating opportunities for social grant beneficiaries and the unemployed to participate in economic activities should become a key focus if governemnt is to meet the MDG’s 2014.


Social protection in Botswana - a model for Africa?

Ten main social protection programmes are reviewed in this Brief: community home-based care (CHBC), OVC programmes, primary and secondary school feeding, vulnerable group feeding, the destitutes programme, state old age and war veterans pensions, the remote area dwellers programme (RADP) and labour intensive public works (‘Ipelegeng’). Together these reach approximately 900,000 people or half of the total population, although 700,000 of these are beneficiaries of the universal school feeding programmes or vulnerable group feeding. Of the remaining seven programmes, none reaches more than 5% of the population.


The Social and Economic Impact of South Africa’s Social Security System

This study evaluates the social and economic impact of State Old Age Pensions (SOAP), Disability Grants (DG), Child Support Grants (CSG), Care Dependency Grants (CDG), Foster Care Grants (FCG) and Grants-in-Aid (GIA). The analysis evaluates the role of social assistance in reducing poverty and promoting household development, examining effects on health, education, housing and vital services. In   addition, the study assesses the impact of social grants on labour market participation and labour productivity, providing an analysis of both the supply and demand sides of the labour market. The study also quantifies the macro-economic impact of social assistance grants, evaluating their impact on savings, consumption and the composition of aggregate demand.


South Africa’s social security system: Expanding coverage of grants and limiting increases in inequality

Since 1994, the South African government has attempted to develop a comprehensive approach to poverty and inequality using a range of instruments and complementary programmes. These include social grants, unemployment insurance, public works programmes for the working poor and the ‘social wage’ package, which comprises access to education, health and other services. With its origins in the 1920s, but restricted for many years to the white and mixed race populations, the system has in the past 20 years expanded coverage significantly across racial groups. The range of instruments deployed has also increased.

Social Development, including social grants

The transformation of social welfare in South Africa since 1994 is underpinned by the social development macro policy framework aimed at poverty alleviation that combines social and economic goals. In order to understand and assess developmental welfare services in the Eastern Cape Province, an overview of social welfare and its transformation from a national perspective is necessary. It is important to note that South Africa is one of the few countries in the world to have adopted a social development policy framework for welfare in line with the United Nations Declaration on Social Development and the proposals of the World Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen in 1995.

7 Reasons why a Universal Income makes Sense in Middle-Income Countries

Is job creation really the best way to seek wellbeing for all in countries with chronic, high unemployment? No – especially not in a wealthy middle-income country like South Africa, where very high unemployment combines with high poverty rates. Here are 7 reasons why a universal income grant makes more sense.

Social assistance and disability in developing countries

This study draws on the existing literature and discussion with a limited number of stakeholders to investigate social assistance for disabled people in developing countries. It explores the perspectives of key stakeholders and, using the information available on both mainstream and targeted social assistance programmes, examines their characteristics and ability to reach and benefit disabled people. The study focuses on developing countries, particularly in Africa, but also draws on information from higher income countries. It is intended as an initial review rather than a definitive analysis.  


Realising the Social Security Rights of Children in South Africa, with particular reference to the Child Support Grant

The right to social security is guaranteed under the South African Constitution. The realization of the right to social security for children in South Africa is in the form of child support grant, foster child grant, and care dependency grant. The focus of this article is on child support grant as a means of advancing children rights in South Africa. By recourse to international and domestic human rights standards, this article argues that the child support grant should be available to all children-up to the age of 18-in order to give meaning to their other socio-economic rights.

No sign of a dependency culture in South Africa

It is frequently argued that the expansion of South Africa’s social grant system is leading to a “culture of dependency”. This Policy Brief demonstrates that there is no evidence for this assertion. In fact, both unemployed South Africans and social grant recipients have a positive attitude towards work. There is also general support for extending the social security system to support the unemployed.


Social protection in Africa: Where next?

Has social protection in sub-Saharan Africa lost its way? There have been dramatic and impressive achievements in the past decade, but a review of country experiences reveals that there is still a long way to go in many countries, while in others progress appears to have stalled, with no clear consensus among domestic and external stakeholders on the way forward. Yet social protection remains central to correcting the inequalities created by skewed development processes of recent decades, and it is at the heart of our main development challenge for the early decades of the 21st century: how to spread the benefits of growth to include the poorest?

Social protection in Africa: A way forward

This paper explores options for those engaged with social protection as donors, consultants, researchers and NGO workers, with the objective of enabling such development partners to do a better job in helping to advance the social protection agenda in Africa. The paper sets out five approaches to effective programme development and policy interventions, building on ten guiding principles which are proposed to guide future engagement of development partners with national social protection policy processes in Africa.


Dynamic Social Security for Africa: An Agenda for Development. Developments and Trends

This Developments and Trends report – Dynamic Social Security for Africa: An Agenda for Development – has been prepared to mark the occasion of the first Regional Social Security Forum for Africa, organized by the International Social Security Association (ISSA), in partnership with the Social Security Fund of Rwanda, 18–20 November 2008, in Kigali, Rwanda. This report for Africa is the first ever regional Developments and Trends report and represents a new approach to better understand and address the key challenges ISSA member organizations are facing in the different regions of the world.


Social Cash Transfers –Reaching the Poorest. A contribution to the international debate based on experience in Zambia

Social cash transfers are increasingly seen as an underexploited means of providing   basic social protection. Middle-income countries like Brazil, Mexico, China and the Republic of South Africa have rapidly expanded their social cash transfer schemes and have thereby achieved significant progress in reducing poverty. The biggest gap between the need for, and the provision of, basic social protection is found in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) of sub- Saharan Africa. The Report of The Commission for Africa therefore recommends establishing and expanding social cash transfer programs as a matter of priority.

Report on Incentive Structures of Social Assistance Grants in South Africa

This report is the first part of an ongoing programme of research concerning the incentive structures created by the configuration of social assistance grants in South Africa. Many of the potentially perverse incentives created by the South African Social Security System result from its categorical nature in which benefits are provided to certain categories of people in financial need but not to others and, in addition, some grants have a higher monetary value than others. In the context of high unemployment, poverty and HIV/AIDS, it can be expected that the South African Social Security System will be under continuous pressure.  


Accomplishments and challenges for partnerships in development in the transformation of social security in South Africa

This paper proposes to broaden the conceptualization of social security by incorporating other elements of social security which are often omitted in discussions. Debates on developmental welfare and social security policy in South Africa tend to focus on the importance of survival strategies for the poor, that is, short to medium term strategies. This begs the question: What are the long-term strategies required for a comprehensive social security policy?


Child poverty: A role for cash transfers? West and Central Africa

This report, the third in a series of regional thematic reports produced for a study on social protection and social assistance in the form of cash transfers – and explores how this can contribute to addressing specific risks and vulnerabilities faced by children in the region. There are still very few cash transfer programmes in West and Central Africa: those that exist are recent and often small –scale pilot schemes. Interest in this type of social protection is growing among policymakers in the region, however, partly as a result of positive experiences in other parts of Africa and elsewhere in the developing world.


The Social Grants and Black Women in South Africa: A Case Study of Bophelongii Township in Gauteng

In post-Apartheid South Africa 12.4 million people receive a social grant. This paper discusses the significance of the grants, and black women’s role through the prism of the grants. The paper is based on a case study in Bophelong township near Johannesburg. The methodology draws on primary and secondary sources, a small socio economic survey, indicative interviews with black women grant recipients, and the relevant literature. The principle of ‘triangulation’ is used to validate research findings.

Social Assistance Grants, Poverty and Economic Growth in South Africa

Three major aspects play a part in discussions on social security: efficiency, equity and administrative feasibility. This paper focuses largely on the equity issue. The first part of the paper uses a microsimulation model to look at the economic incidence of social assistance grants and draws some conclusions about the redistributive effects of social assistance grants in South Africa. The second part of the paper considers some of the complex relationships between social security, economic welfare and economic growth at the macroeconomic level.