Seeing that South Africa is a developing country, we have a well-established social welfare system and a large proportion of social spending goes towards social grants. At the moment, more than 16 million South Africans are getting social grants every month.
Why are social grants necessary?
Social Grants are in place to improve standards of living and redistribute wealth to create a more equitable society. Sections 24 through 29 of the Bill of Rights in the South African Constitution recognise the socio-economic rights of citizens, including the right to social security. The government is obligated to progressively realise these rights, meaning that “the state must take reasonable legislative and other measures, within its available resources, to achieve the progressive realisation of the right.”
South African Social Security Agency
Social grants are administered by the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA). SASSA is mandated by the South African Social Security Agency Act of 2004 to “ensure the provision of comprehensive social security services against vulnerability and poverty within the constitutional legislative framework”.
The Social Assistance Act of 2004 and regulations to the act provide the legal framework for the administration of seven social grants. Grants are targeted at categories of people who are vulnerable to poverty and in need of state support. These are older people, people with disabilities and children. Also, the Social Relief of Distress award provides immediate temporary assistance to people in dire need of financial support and is given to people in the form of vouchers, food parcels or money for a three month period.
Grants available include:
- Child Support Grant
- Older Person’s Grant
- Disability Grant
- Care Dependency Grant
- War Veteran’s Grant
- Foster Child Grant
Applicants for social grants must be South African citizens, permanent resident or refugees and currently living in South Africa.