Community-Based Monitoring (CBM) provides a mechanism for civil society to gather and analyse information from the service users’ points of view. Black Sash works with Community Partners across the country to monitor and gather evidence about the quality of services people are receiving.
Citizens and public service users are active holders of fundamental rights and not merely passive users of public services.
Community-Based Monitoring (CBM) provides a mechanism for civil society to gather and analyse information from the service users’ points of view.
Black Sash works with Community Partners across the country to monitor and gather evidence about the quality of services people are receiving.
The information provided by Community Partners is collated, analysed and compiled into reports.
These reports provide a strong body of evidence which is presented to government and, where necessary, taken into the public domain, in order to better the delivery of services and to acknowledge good service where it is provided.
The Black Sash model of Community Based Monitoring is an excellent example of how civil society and service users can contribute both to improved service delivery and to democratic governance.
Prior to the development of the CBM model, the Black Sash Trust and the Social Change Assistance Trust (SCAT) engaged in a partnership to implement the Community Monitoring and Advocacy Project (CMAP). CMAP was a three-year pilot project that was rolled out across all nine provinces in South Africa, from 2010 to 2013, funded by the European Union and the Open Society Foundation. The key objective of CMAP was to collect detailed and accurate information about service delivery, and use this information to advocate for improvements at the public facility level.
The arrival of Covid-19 changed the history of social assistance in South Africa in dramatic ways.
The South African President declared a National Disaster on 15 March 2020, and a week later placed the nation in a three-week lockdown from 23 March onwards – to prevent the spread of the disease.
The March/April 2020 social grant payment cycle was significantly affected by these rapid developments. SASSA announced that old age pensions and disability grants would be released earlier than usual on 30 March. Other grants would be paid out on 31 March. However, in reality, all grants were released on 29 March and accessible by 30 March. This led to extremely long queues and numerous systemic challenges.
Given the strict lockdown measures in place, Black Sash contacted experienced CBM partners and asked them to conduct surveys remotely in April, May and June – witnessing grant payments at SAPO branches, retailers, bank ATMs and mobile cash paypoints from a distance, or contacting members of their communities via Whatsapp. By September, lockdown had been eased and more detailed information could be collected.
In May 2020, the Department of Social Development announced the roll out of a temporary Covid-19 SRD grant, for those who have no income and do not benefit from other social assistance programmes or the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF).
The Black Sash, Community Advice Offices of South Africa (CAOSA) and Social Change Assistance Trust (SCAT) worked in partnership with up to 60 Community Based Organisations and Community Advice Offices to: