Social Security

Monitoring the Right to Social Security

Social security is an important safety net that helps relieve poverty and diminishes some of the immediate hardships of unemployment. An effective social security system is therefore of crucial importance for the future of South Africa. It not only eases the immediate concerns which come with persistent poverty and unemployment but allows government time to tackle  the  long  term  problems  of  structural  unemployment  and  poverty.  Social security in South Africa is a two-pillar system made up of a state revenue funded social assistance programme (social grants) and a contributory social insurance system.

SPII’s Working Paper 6: A Review of the Development of Social Security Policy in South Africa’  conducts an in-depth analysis of the policy developments for social security before and after 1994. This analysis enables an assessment to be made on how far the constitutional obligation to progressively realise the right to social security and social assistance for those who can’t provide for themselves has been realised, and the extent to which this obligation has in fact driven the policy making process.

SPII’s Policy Brief 1: Monitoring the right to social security in South Africa focuses exclusively on the social assistance pillar of social security. This includes the following grants: Old Age Grant (OAG), War Veteran’s Grant (WVG), Disability Grant (DG), Grant in Aid (GIA), Foster Child Grant (FCG), Care Dependency Grant (CDG), Child Support Grant (CSG) and the Social Relief of Distress Grant (SROD) which is available for a limited period of time when in an unforeseen and dire situation. The main reason for this is that contributions to social insurance are restricted to small parts of the working population in a context of massive structural unemployment.

SPII also conducted primary research in Zandspruit informal settlement in 2012/13 in relation to primary health care and social security. The findings from this research can be found in The right to social security and primary health care in Zandspruit informal settlement South Africa.

Our indicators for both the right to health care and social security will be updated and re-populated with data from at least 2002 by September 2015 – watch this space!