Report of the Committee of Inquiry into a Comprehensive System of Social Security for South Africa
The ALP and TAC strongly endorse the principles underpinning the key findings and proposals made in the Report. In particular,we support the Report’s promotion of the concept of Comprehensive Social Protection (CSP) which seeks to provide the basic means for all people living in the country to effectively participate and advance in social and economic life, and in turn to contribute to social and economic development, recognising that high levels of unemployment, extreme poverty and inequality are significant barriers to sustainable growth.
In addition, we recognise that the existing social security system excludes (by law or in practice) significant categories of people in need, including:
- Children under nine who do not yet access the child support grant (CSG), despite being entitled to do so;
- All children over nine;
- All children without primary caregivers;
- Child-headed households;
- People with chronic illnesses who do not meet strict medically-based criteria;
- 95% of unemployed people who are without access to Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) benefits; and
- Non-citizens (and children in their care).
In short, a majority of poor people in South Africa do not access any form of social security grant.
We also agree with the Report’s argument that any new social security system must not undermine traditional support mechanisms, but should rather support and strengthen existing informal social security. We agree that interventions and programmes are needed to bolster the overall ability of communities and informal social security systems to “cope with and manage increased levels of risk andhardship.”
We agree with the report that the HIV/AIDS epidemic is – and will continue – to exacerbate poverty and inequality, placing downward pressure on households and household incomes, placing unsustainable pressure on social services institutions (such as the public health sector) and undermining medium to long-term economic growth and social development potential.