Legislative Programme; Social Securty System & Departmental Organogram: briefing by Director-General

Social Development

07 September 1999
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report

990908pcwelfare

WELFARE & POPULATION DEVELOPMENT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
8 September 1999
LEGISLATIVE PROGRAMME, SOCIAL SECURITY AND DEPARTMENTAL ORGANOGRAM: BRIEFING BY DIRECTOR-GENERAL

Documents handed out
Legislative Programme September 1999 - December 2000
Annexures on the Social Security presentation by the Chief Director of Social Security

SUMMARY
The Director General , Ms Lucy Abrahams, gave a briefing on the three pieces of legislation planned for this year and legislative plans for 2000. The Chief Director of Social Security gave a briefing on the current Social Security system and some of its problems. The planned discussion on the South African Law Commission's work on a new Child Care Act did not occur due to time.

MINUTES
1999 Legislation
The DG went over the three pieces of legislation that are virtually ready for the committee. They should be approved by MINMEC on 27 September 1999.

Probation Services Amendment Bill

This was adopted by the committee in March but was withheld due to an intervention by the Ministry of Justice over the implementability of the bill. An amendment has been agreed to but it remains unclear whether the bill will have to go through the whole parliamentary process again as the amendment only affects administration not content. The bill aims to:

  • Provide a support system for victims of crime
  • Give probation officers influence in the sentencing process
  • Try to keep children out of the justice system
  • Give the prosecutor decision taking powers when delays in recommendations occur.

The bill itself is merely an amendment and should be seen as an interim measure. The department is very aware that it has produced many amendments during the last parliament and it is now aiming to produce more coherent legislation. The child and youth care system is therefore in the process of long term change.

Developmental Welfare Governance Bill

The key weakness of the current welfare system is how service providers (government and non-government) are governed. Their systems of corporate governance fail to place the influence of clients above interests of management. This affects the quality of service delivery. The bill aims to create a transparent and effective welfare environment. The DG stated that she had done her best to ensure the objectives of the bill are measurable and that it is clear what it aims to provide.

Non Profit Organisations Amendment Bill

The current Act (no.71 of 1997) provides an environment that enables NPOs to function. The amendment aims to remove some of the act's bureaucracy but keep accountability. Whilst NPOs must still publish their intention to make a code of practice they will no longer then have to publish the code of practice itself, an expensive and time-consuming process.

2000 legislation

Status of Older Persons Bill

The department's desire for a comprehensive bill means that after a serious of workshops, involving many organisations, a hefty bill has been produced. This should be presented to the committee in November.

Disaster and Emergency Fund Bill

The first draft is complete and the department is currently in discussions with stakeholders.

Status of Disabled Persons Bill

This is proposed for May 2000. The welfare elements will involve a social assistance grant, welfare services and a social development programme to increase the social competence of the disabled. However the Bill concerns more government departments than Welfare alone. It is proposed that a Green Paper and White Paper process should occur.

Comprehensive Children's legislation

The DG said that she has already had a discussion with the task team of the South African Law Commission who are investigating legislation. She has formally requested another meeting with the team and also a meeting with the commission. She will ensure that the final draft legislation has departmental input. A presentation will be made to the committee on 6 October 1999.

Legislation on norms and standards in the administration of social assistance

This is both a national and provincial issue. All provinces have social assistance legislation but the department wants national guidelines to be set. It is possible that draft regulations and not a draft bill will be presented to the committee in June 2000. The department is to publish a tender for an audit of the current situation to help it produce these regulations.

Questions to the DG

Ms E. Gandhi (ANC): Would it not be better if all welfare grants were legislated for in one bill instead of existing as elements of many bills?

Response: The current thinking of the department is never to issue a grant alone. A grant should be given alongside a service. This concept means that grants should be an integral part of each area of welfare provision.

Mr M. Masutha (ANC): It is encouraging that the department wants to develop comprehensive legislation. However, with regard to the Status of Disabled Persons Bill, the policy development process might be able to take on all three areas of welfare concern but will it not be problematic to bring all three areas into one piece of legislation?

Response: I basically agree with what you are saying and when the time comes various issues will be drafted into appropriate legislation. However at this stage a holistic approach is needed to actually clarify what this legislation will involve.

Social Security Presentation

The Chief Director of Social Security, Mr Makiwane, read from the 'Background on Social Security' available in the Social Security annexures. He aimed to brief members on what the system was, at whom it was targeted and the current areas of concern. He added the following comments to the presentation:

  • The service aims to cater for those people who do not even have the income for subsistence. 50% of South African are regarded as poor. 27% are regarded as ultra poor. 75% of these are in rural areas.
  • The State Maintenance Grant (SMG) is currently being phased out in favour of the Child Support Grant (CSG). The SMG is regarded as being poorly targeted, is available only to single parents and is unaffordable. The CSG is tested on income alone and aims to reach a wider group of children (three million by 2003).
  • The Welfare Department's concern with Social Security involves Social Assistance Legislation. The government is obliged to provide for people who cannot provide for themselves and therefore various financial grants are provided by the Welfare Department. These grants are means tested to ensure a targeted approach and minimum expenditure.
  • Social Security grants currently account for 89.8% of the Welfare budget whilst Welfare services account for only 10.2%. It is intended that this imbalance should be addressed.
  • In focusing on providing a comprehensive Social Security System the gaps in the current system must be plugged. Social Security is available to families with children up to seven and to people over 60. Outside these categories provisions are essentially non-existent.

Questions

Ms E. Gandhi (ANC): Have current beneficiaries of the SMG been notified of its phasing out and do they have alternatives?

Response from the DG: Throughout each stage of the phasing-out process public notices have been released. People who receive the SMG and whose children are up to seven years old will be eligible for the CSG. However most are currently choosing to keep the greater value SMG as long as possible.

Ms P. Cupido (DP): If the SMG is being removed what financial support will be available to families with children between seven and eighteen? These children are still dependent.

Response from the DG: The issue of children over the age of seven has been the subject of policy discussion. On this matter the department is now following government policy. This means that no grant is available for children between the ages of seven and eighteen and that resources are being targeted towards the ultra poor.

Mr B. Solo (ANC): Are those targeted by the CSG actually able to access it? There have been reports of forms being too long and only available in Afrikaans and reports that very little information on the grant has been made available to the public.

Response from the DG: There were complaints that the regulations involved in the application procedure were onerous. This came to a head in May / June and the regulations have since been simplified. For example you no longer need to provide written proof of income, an applicant's sworn statement of income will suffice. Uptake of the CSG had already increased before these changes and even greater uptake is now expected. The problem of access to the application procedure requires a total government strategy. Departments should work together to aid access to remote areas and sections of the population. For example the Land Affairs and Agriculture Department might have access to rural areas that Welfare has difficulty servicing.

Ms E. Gandhi (ANC): Is there a written policy on 'means tests' and does the committee have an input in deciding what they are?

Response from Mr Makiwane: Means tests are defined in legislation that has gone through the committee stage and if changes were to occur they would go through the legislative process which includes the committee.

Ms E. Gandhi (ANC): Are war veteran grants under review and are they paid to the veterans or their families?

Response from Mr Makiwane: The grants are means tested and paid to the individuals. As the individuals are veterans of WW1, WW2 and the Korean War, payments are in decline due to deaths and this does not really need review.

Ms E. Gandhi (ANC): 59.6% of social assistance grants are administered through private contractors. Where does this occur and is there an evaluation of this system?

Response from the DG: Only the Eastern Cape does not use contractors but there are a variety of payment mechanisms in all the provinces. It is acknowledged that a holistic approach to operations is needed and that there are problems in service delivery. Contracts are currently negotiated at provincial level but national standards are needed and hopefully they will be brought about by the legislation plans for 2000.

Ms J. Chalmers (ANC): Is there a national budget and are there national guidelines on the social relief of distress?

Response from Mr Makiwane: Social relief is a provincial issue and budgets are voted on by provinces, although they must fall within national guidelines. It is accepted that this system lacks the tightness of national legislation and produces problems and inconsistencies. It is currently under review.

Ms J. Chalmers (ANC): The temporary disability grant qualifications seem to vary greatly and often make the grant very inaccessible.

Dr E. Jassat (ANC): What criteria are used to assess an applicant of the temporary disability grant and how is an applicant assessed by the assessor?

Response from Mr Makiwane: The application and assessment procedures are not uniform but work at a provincial level. Hopefully this will be rectified by the construction of a comprehensive framework of services and grants that the department is currently working on.

Response from the DG: The temporary disability grant is problematic because it has both a positive and negative effect. It is removed when people are no longer disabled in medical terms. However this rarely means that they no longer need the financial support. Hardship often follows removal of the grant but this is usually due to unemployment. However this is a problem for Labour and no longer for Welfare. This illustrates the need for our comprehensive investigations into a new system and the need for an inter-departmental approach to Social Security.

Dr E. Jassat (ANC): The re-registering process seems to be taking a very long time and there have been reports of benefits being wrongly suspended. Is it working? How is the process being monitored?

Response from Mr Makiwane: There have been problems in communicating that this process is occurring but this does reflect conditions and poor infrastructure. We are now streamlining the various provincial approaches. The re-registering process must occur if we are to provide for genuine Social Security candidates and eliminate fraud. Currently the only way to re-register is to do so in person and maybe this should be reviewed. However no one is now removed from the system unless it has been proved that they do not exist.

Response from the DG: The reported suspensions in the Northern Province were inappropriate and have now been rectified.

Ms C. Ramotsamai (ANC): What monitoring system is in place to pick up on the death of grant recipients?

Response from the DG: An automatic check occurs in cooperation with Population Affairs. This is not perfect but currently it is the only monitoring system in place.

Dr E. Jassat (ANC): What is the department doing to increase the capacity of the people who service clients? What is the department doing to improve the quality and speed of the payment system? Last month some recipients of grants did not receive payment until the 15th - they were supposed to receive payment on the 1st. This was blamed on a bank code problem!

Response from Mr Makiwane: We are trying to upgrade the skills of the people servicing the payment system but we did inherit a very bad system and it will take time to overhaul it.

Response from the DG: The payment system is barbaric. There is no excuse for the endless problems that occur. This is why I am looking forward to our presentation to you of our planned changes for the Social Security system.

Ms R. Southgate (ACDP): The budget for the department is R18.6 billion. When the MTEF [Medium Term Expenditure Framework] process begins will there be a direct consultation between the department and the committee? Is so, when will this be?

Response from the DG: The MTEF for the next cycle is complete and it is too late for the committee to do more than comment. However for the following cycle planning is currently in progress and this will involve a national consultative process and extensive workshops with stakeholders. The aim is to ensure that strategy is linked to the spending plan.

The DG added two further comments. Firstly for Welfare to function, a cooperative approach is needed. The Department will be strengthened if cooperation occurs at provincial and national levels and within government itself. Secondly regarding Y2K, the department can state that rectification of the national Welfare database is complete. The department is now finalizing contingency plans with the provinces to cope with failures beyond their control (e.g. electricity).

Departmental Organogram

The DG referred committee members to the section on 'Motivation for Implementation of Proposed Organogram' saying that this would help to explain how the various functions of the Department are fulfilled. She then briefly summarized the organogram listing the branches and directorates and their functions within the department (these diagrams are not available here).

The organogram explains how the department covers its mandate and how it is structured:

  • Policy function - this comes together at a single point under one person. This allows for an integrated approach.
  • Implementation of new techniques in management - this has been introduced to re-tool social workers with business skills.
  • Implementation of efficiency and effectiveness in payment - this goes beyond the current system and is focusing on a future of electronic payment.
  • Financial accountability
  • Checks and balances within the department - this follows a catalogue of criticisms. The department has now set up a system to rectify internal mistakes before they affect the public.
  • Effective management of the parliamentary process.
  • The Minister's office.
  • National Population Unit - this is the subject of the next presentation to the committee.

There were originally 400+ posts on the organogram before this was downsized to the current number of 388. Of these, 276 posts are filled. The objective is to fill all management posts by 1 April 2000 and all 388 posts within the next two MTEF cycles. This is dependent on appeals for more money receiving support.

Appendix 1:

Legislative Programme September 1999 - December 2000

A. LEGISLATION FOR THE REMAINDER OF 1999

The Department of Welfare envisages to have the following laws passed by Parliament during the remainder of 1999:

  1. Probation Services Amendment Bill;
  2. Developmental Welfare Governance Bill; and
  3. Non Profit Organisations Amendment Bill.

It is envisaged that the above-mentioned Bills will be tabled during October 1999 and be passed by Parliament before Parliament adjourns on 2 December 1999. In order to do so the Developmental Welfare Governance Bill and the Non Profit Organisations Amendment Bill will have to be approved by MINMEC (27 September 1999), approved by Cabinet (October 1999) and certified by the State Law Advisers (October 1999). These Bills will also be published for comment immediately after being approved by MINMEC.

PROBATION SERVICES AMENDMENT BILL

The Probation Services Amendment Bill which was approved by Cabinet during January 1999, certified by the State Law Advisers during February 1999 and adopted by the Portfolio Committee for Welfare on 3 March 1999, was withheld on 17 March 1999 following an intervention from the Ministry of Justice.

A single amendment to the Bill was proposed by Justice on 17 March 1999 and agreed to by Justice, Welfare and the State Law Advisers on 23 March 1999.

It is not clear at this stage whether the Bill needs to be reintroduced or whether it can only be referred back to the Portfolio Committee for consideration and approval. The Department is awaiting a decision from Parliament in this regard.

The Probation Services Amendment Bill will serve as an interim measure to facilitate the transformation of the child and youth care system and will, amongst others, provide for -

  • the introduction of assessment, support, referral and mediation services in respect of victims of crime;
  • the competency of a probation officer to recommend an appropriate sentence or other options to the court and for the mandatory assessment of every arrested child within 48 hours of his or her arrest; and
  • the right of the prosecutor to take a decision where an unreasonable delay in making recommendations to him or her occurs, if it is in the interest of justice or in the best interest of the child to do so.

DEVELOPMENTAL WELFARE GOVERNANCE BILL

South Africa has made a commitment to a developmental social welfare approach, the aim of which is to build a self-reliant nation in partnership with all stakeholders. This will be achieved through an integrated social welfare system which maximises its existing potential, and which is premised on principles of equity, sustainability, access and people-centredness (White Paper for Social Welfare, 1996). Arising from these principles is the need for institutional arrangements which are guided by the key operational concepts of partnership and co-operative governance.

The White Paper for Social Welfare acknowledges the inadequacy of past governance structures which amongst other things, lacked legitimacy and inclusivity and perpetuated disparity and selective delivery of services.

In attempting to redress the past inadequacies of governance mechanisms and imbalances in service delivery, the White Paper for Social Welfare (Section 26 of Chapter 3) acknowledges the need for appropriate, legitimate, transparent and effective governance mechanisms. An envisaged governance structure should be viewed as one of the critical and strategic mechanisms to facilitate meaningful and relevant civil society participation in policy, legislation, programmes and social services activities.

During 1996 the National Interim Consultative Committee on Developmental Social Services (NICC) was appointed and inaugurated by the Minister for Welfare and Population Development in order to, amongst others, make recommendations on the nature and constitution of a permanent structure which would consolidate partnership and mutual accountability between the state and civil society.

The provisions of this Bill - the product of the NICC's work - are part of the overall transformation of the welfare system from a purely residual one to a developmental one. A structure is advocated that will promote maximum influence of political decision-making and maximum dialogue between the Ministry and the developmental welfare sector.

The main object of the Bill is to make provision for the establishment and constitution of the contemplated new council which shall be known as the South African Developmental Welfare Council ("the Council").

The Council is intended to facilitate and consolidate participation of civil society and government interaction and public policy formulation at various levels. These levels of participation and interaction on policy, legislation and developmental welfare issues will be informed and empowered by the strengths of existing organised formations rooted at national, provincial and local levels of society. The Council will enhance dialogue between civil society developmental welfare structures and the different tiers of government.

The Bill provides for certain welfare related definitions and for the establishment, objects and functions of the Council. The Bill also provides for the constitution of the members of the Council. These members shall be appointed by the Minister from nominations by organisations in the developmental social welfare sector and by the general public.

The provisions of the Bill arise out of a consultative process in which the views of stakeholders (well over seventy submissions were received) both within government and civil society were canvassed.

NON PROFIT ORGANISATIONS AMENDMENT BILL

The Non Profit Organisations Amendment Bill envisages to delete the Provision in the Non Profit Organisations Act, 1997 (Act No. 71 of 1997) (the Act) which provides that model documents and codes of good practice and amendments thereof must be published in the Gazette and another newspaper for one month's comment.

Section 28 of the Act deals with the procedure for making regulations and

provides that the intention to make regulations must be announced by notice in the Gazette and at least one other widely circulated means of communication. It provides further that a period of at least one month from the date of the notice must be allowed for interested parties to comment on the regulations. (This is not a problem and the position will remain).

However, section 6(2) of the Act provides that any model document, model constitution for non profit organisations and codes of good practice for non profit organisations prepared by the Directorate for Non Profit Organisations or any amendment or substitution thereof must be made in accordance with the procedure contemplated in section 28 of the Act.

This process is very time consuming and expensive.

Since the commencement of the Act on 1 September 1998, model documents and codes of good practice have been published for comment at great cost and unfortunately no comment was received. The Department of Welfare subsequently decided to request Parliament to delete section 6(2) due to the fact that the process provided by 6(2) did not really serve its purpose. Should Parliament approve the said deletion, the Directorate for Non-profit Organisations will in future prepare and issue model documents and codes of good practice without publication for comment and thereby save time and money.

The Bill also envisages to amend the Act in order to effect corrections to the text of certain provisions thereof. (In sections 9, 24, 25 and 34 the text of the Afrikaans and English versions differ).

B. LEGISLATION FOR 2000

  1. The Department of Welfare envisages to introduce the following laws in Parliament during 2000 or have at least draft Bills ready for discussion with the Portfolio Committee:

Status of Older Persons Bill

This Bill intends to provide for the promotion of the status of older persons, their protection and well-being and the care of their interests. A "final" draft is currently being prepared and it is envisaged that the Department can make a presentation to the Portfolio Committee on the contents of the Bill during November 1999.

Disaster and Emergency Fund Bill

A rough first draft of the Bill which intends to establish a fund that may be accessed in the event of a disaster has been prepared. Discussions with stakeholders will take place soon after which a second draft will be prepared.

Status of Disabled Persons Bill

The relevant line function in the Department is expected to have a policy document on the status of disabled persons ready by May 2000 after which a Bill may be drafted.

Comprehensive Children's legislation

The Department has arranged a presentation with the Portfolio Committee for 6 October 1999.

Legislation on norms and standards in the administration of social assistance.

It is envisaged to have a draft Bill ready for comment by June 2000.

Appendix 2:

Annexures on the Social Security presentation by the Chief Director of Social Security

FACTSHEET 1

INFORMATION ON SOCIAL GRANTS

1. SOCIAL GRANTS FOR THE AGED

In order to qualify for a social grant for the aged, the applicant:

  • Must be a South African citizen
  • Must be resident in the Republic at the time of application
  • If a male, must be 65 years of age
  • If a female, must be 60 years of age
  • As well as the spouse, must comply with the means test
  • Must not be maintained or cared for in a state institution, and
  • Must not be in receipt of another social grant, in respect of him or herself.

2. SOCIAL GRANTS FOR DISABLED PERSONS

In order to qualify for a social grant for disabled persons, the applicant:

  • Must be a South African citizen
  • Must be resident in the Republic at the time of application
  • Must be a disabled person, who has attained the age of 18 years and as a result of his or her disability is unable to obtain employment or does not have any other resources to support himself or herself.
  • The period of disability for all work must either be permanent or for a continuous period of 6 months or 1 year.
  • Must not refuse to undergo the necessary medical treatment, unless the treatment may be life threatening
  • As well as the spouse, must comply with the means test
  • Must not be maintained or cared for in a state institution, and
  • Must not be in receipt of another social grant, in respect of him or herself.

3. SOCIAL GRANTS FOR WAR VETERANS

In order to qualify for a social grant for war veterans, the applicant:

  • Must be a South African citizen
  • Must be resident in the Republic at the time of application
  • Must be a war veteran, that is a person who has attained the age of 60 years, or who is disabled and has served full-time in wars, between 1914 and 1945
  • As well as the spouse, must comply with the means test
  • Must not be maintained or cared for in a state institution, and
  • Must not be in receipt of another social grant in respect if him or herself.

4. FOSTER CHILD GRANTS

What is a Foster Child Grant?

A foster child grant is payable to a foster parent or parents in respect of a foster child who has been placed in their custody in terms of the Child Care Act.

What are the Qualifying Requirements?

  • The child or children must be legally placed in the care of the foster parent/s
  • The income of the foster child must not exceed twice the annual amount of a foster child grant, and
  • The applicant and foster child/ren must be resident in the Republic at the time of application.

Note: Foster parents and children need not be South African citizens.

5. CARE-DEPENDENCY GRANTS

What is a care-dependency grant?

A care-dependency grant is payable to the parent/s or foster parents in respect of a care-dependent child between the ages of 1 and 18 years in their care, who, due to severe mental and /or physical disability, needs full-time care.

What are the qualifying requirements?

  • The parent/s and care-dependent child must be South African citizens
  • The applicant and care-dependent child must be resident in the Republic at the time of application
  • The care-dependent child/ren must be between the ages of 1 and 18 years
  • A medical report and functional assessment for the child must be submitted
  • Medical treatment must not be refused provided it is not life threatening
  • At the age of 6 the child/ren must be evaluated as to his or her educability and trainability
  • The care dependent child/ren must be legally in the care of the parent or foster parent, and
  • The care-dependent child/ren must not be permanently care for in a state institution.

6. CHILD SUPPORT GRANTS

What is a child support grant?

A child support grant is a grant of R100 per month payable to a primary care-giver in respect of a child or children under the age of seven. A primary care-giver is any person who takes primary responsibility for the daily care needs of the child or children and is not necessarily related to the child/ren.

What are the qualifying requirements?

  • The child/ren and the primary care-giver must be South African citizens
  • The child/ren and the primary care-giver must be resident in the Republic at the time of application
  • The applicant must be the primary care-giver of the child/ren concerned
  • The child or children must be under the age of 7 years
  • The grant is payable in respect of a maximum of 6 children
  • The primary care giver must comply with the financial criteria in the means test
  • The primary care-giver must not receive remuneration to take care of the child/ren concerned
  • An institution must not receive an award for taking care of the child
  • The primary care-giver or any other person must not already be in receipt of a grant on behalf of the child

7. DOCUMENTS REQUIRED WHEN APPLYING FOR GRANTS

The following documents or certified copies must accompany all applications made for grants:

7.1 Documents required for all grants:

  • South African Identity Document (13 digits) of the applicant and spouse (if applicable) and relevant child/ren
  • Proof of marital status: marriage certificate, divorce order and agreement and death certificate of late spouse (if widow/er)

7.2 Social Grants:

In addition to the documents mentioned under 7.1, the following documents must be submitted:

  • Proof of income and assets of the applicant as well as his/her spouse:
  • Bank statement/s for a period of 3 consecutive months
  • Interest/dividends earned on investments and bank accounts
  • Explanation of any deposit and credits in bank accounts
  • If unemployed, a UIF card (blue card) or discharge certificate from the previous employer
  • Medical history and report for a disability grant
  • Proof of war service in the case of war veterans
  • If a lumpsum was received, documentary proof of how it was invested or spent.

7.3 Child Support Grant

In addition to the documents mentioned under 7.1, the following documents must be submitted when applying for a child support grant:

  • Each child's ID or a 13-digit birth certificate with the child's ID number (if the child does not have an ID or a birth certificate with 13 numbers, the applicant must apply for one at the Department of Home Affairs)
  • If the applicant is working, he or she must show proof of recent personal income or make a sworn statement
  • If the applicant is not working, he or she must tell this to the welfare officer
  • If the applicant is married, he or she must show proof of their spouse's income if the spouse is working or make a sworn statement
  • If the applicant is not the parent of the child, he or she must show proof that they have permission to look after the child
  • If the applicant is looking after the child because the parents are dead or missing, the applicant can apply for the grant.

7.4 Foster Child Grants

In addition to the documents mentioned under 7.1, the following documents must accompany an application for a foster child grant:

  • Identity document or birth certificate with 13 digits for each child
  • Proof of income for the foster child concerned
  • Proof of regular school attendance, if the child/ren is of school going age
  • An order of the Children's Court.

7.5 Care-dependency Grants

In addition to the documents mentioned under 7.1, the following documents must accompany an application for a care dependency grant:

  • Identity document or birth certificate with 13 digits for each child
  • Proof of income of the family
  • A medical report from a medical officer

Note: An application form will not be completed, unless all the required documents are submitted

8. CANCELLATION OF GRANTS

All grants will be cancelled, should one or more of the following circumstances occur:

8.1 A social grant shall lapse:

  • On the last day of the month in which the beneficiary dies
  • when a beneficiary is admitted to a state institution, and
  • when the period of temporary disability has lapsed in the case of a grant for the disabled.

8.2 A child support grant shall lapse:

  • On the last day of the month in which the primary care-giver dies
  • On the last day of the month in which the child in respect of whom the grant is paid, dies
  • On the last day of the month in which the child in respect of whom the grant is paid, attains the age of 7 years, and
  • On the last day of the month in which the child is no longer in the custody of the primary care-giver.

8.3 A foster child grant shall lapse:

  • On the last day of the month in which the last-living foster parents dies
  • On the last day of the month in which the foster child dies
  • On the last day of the month in which the foster child is no longer in the custody of the foster parent
  • At the end of the calendar year in which the foster child attains the age of 18 years, and
  • With effect from the first day of the month following the month in which the foster child leaves school.

Note:

Continuation of the payment of a foster child grant may be authorised, on recommendation of a social worker:

  • in the case of a child under the age of 18 years, for a maximum period of 1 year, pending placement; or
  • in the case of a foster child between the ages of 18 to 21 years, to enable the child to complete hi or her secondary school training, or in the case of a disabled child, his or her special educational training.

8.4 A care-dependency grant shall lapse:

  • On the last day of the month in which the parent or the foster parent dies
  • On the last day of the month in which the care-dependent child dies,
  • On the last day of the month in which the care-dependent child attains the age of 18 years, whereupon he or she will be able to apply for a grant for disabled persons, and
  • Where a care-dependent child is admitted (permanently) to a psychiatric or care- and rehabilitation centre.

8.5 Any grant shall lapse:

If the beneficiary has not claimed the grant for a consecutive period of three months.

Note:

Application for re-instatement of the grant must be made within 90 days after the grant has lapsed.

  1. Approval and notification procedure
  • After all the relevant information and documents have been supplied in support of an application for a grant, a decision is made whether to approve or reject the application.
  • A letter of approval or rejection is furnished as soon as possible to inform the applicant of the outcome.
  • The applicant must be informed of the reasons of rejection and his or her right to appeal within 90 days.

Note:

For disability and care-dependency grants the same procedure is followed, but a medical report and medical history of the applicant, for assessment and classification by a Medical Pension Officer is required before an application form may be completed.

Date of approval of grants

  • From 1 April 1998 payment of a grant is made from the date of approval and NOT the date on which the application is made.
  • Payment of the grant must commence within 3 months of the date of approval.
  • The policy adopted is that NO applicants should wait longer than 3 months for finalisation (approval or rejection) of their applications, from the date on which the application form is completed together with all the necessary documents.

Note:

A foster child grant is payable from the date on which the child was placed in the custody of the foster parent/s, therefore the date of the court order, on condition that the application for this grant is made within 6 months of the date of the court order.

10. SOCIAL RELIEF OF DISTRESS

10.1 What is a Social Relief of Distress?

  • Social Relief of distress is a means of alleviating the need of persons by means of the temporary rendering of material assistance to them.
  • It is therefore intended for persons in such dire material need, that they are unable to meet their needs or their family's most elementary needs.
  • It is designed to help persons and families over a crisis period.

10.2 Who qualifies for social relief of distress?

In order to qualify for Social Relief of Distress, the applicant must comply with one or more of the following conditions:

  • The applicant must be awaiting permanent aid
  • The applicant must have been found to be medically unfit to undertake remunerative work for a period of less than 6 months
  • No maintenance is received from the person obliged to pay maintenance, and proof must be submitted that efforts made to trace such a person to obtain maintenance were unsuccessful
  • The breadwinner is deceased and insufficient means are available
  • The applicant has been affected by a disaster, and the area of the community in which he or she lives, has not yet been declared a disaster area, and
  • The applicant is not receiving assistance from any other organisation

Note: No person is entitled to a grant and Social Relief of Distress simultaneously. Overpayments which have occurred in this regard will be recovered from a grant payment, including an arrear grant payment.

10.3 Period and value of Social Relief of Distress

Social Relief of Distress is issued monthly for a period of 3 consecutive months. Extension of the period by a further 3 months may be granted, in exceptional cases.

The value of Social Relief issued for each adult may not exceed the maximum social grant payable per month, and for each child may not exceed the maximum child support grant payable per month.

Note:

  • In some provinces assistance is only rendered in the form of food vouchers.

Transport expenditure may be paid in exceptional cases where:

  • The applicant is referred for treatment by a medical officer and no other transport arrangements can be made, and
  • The applicant must travel to a specific destination to assume employment where he or she will not be dependent on further state aid.

11. FUNERAL EXPENSES

Grant money owing to deceased beneficiaries or children, may be paid to persons who paid for the funeral expenses, if a claim is made within 6 months after the death of the beneficiary or child concerned.

But: The amount payable shall not exceed the amount owing to the deceased beneficiary or child concerned.

12. PAYMENT OF A GRANT

There are different ways in which grants can be paid:

  • In some provinces, grants are paid out by people employed by the state / Welfare department
  • In other provinces, grants are paid out by people working for private companies. These companies have been awarded a contract by the welfare department of the province
  • Grants can also be paid at the Post Office
  • If applicants have their own bank accounts, the money can be deposited into the account
  • Grant money in respect of beneficiaries maintained or cared for in institutions may be credited to the institution's bank account

Note:

  • If a beneficiary is unable to collect his or her grant money, due to illness or other reasons beyond his or her control, the beneficiary may appoint and authorise another person (procurator) to draw the grant on his or her behalf. It remains the prerogative of the beneficiary to spend the money in any way he or she wishes.
  • An administrator can be appointed by the Department to administer a grant on behalf of a beneficiary as a result of misspending, mental disability or alcohol abuse on the part of the beneficiary.
  1. REVIEWS

All grants are reviewed at different times and intervals by each province. A review may result in the grant being increased, decreased or cancelled, depending on the information and changed circumstances. Failure to act upon a review will result in the suspension or cancellation of the grant.

 

FACTSHEET 2

THE NEW CHILD SUPPORT GRANT

The Department of Welfare is committed to reaching 3 million children by the year 2003 through the child support grant. The current figures show that close to 150 000 children are receiving the grant.

The New Child Support Grant regulations were gazetted on 25 June 1999. The requirements for child support grant have been relaxed to encourage applications. The Child Support Grant is a grant of R100 a month per child paid to the primary caregiver of a child.

The child support grant is aimed at helping poor families to look after their children. It can be paid to a mother, father, grandparent or any one else who looks after the child on a day to day basis without being paid.

TO QUALIFY FOR THE CHILD SUPPORT GRANT:

  • Primary care-giver and child must be SA citizens
  • Primary care-giver must comply with the means test
  • Primary care-giver must submit his or her bar-coded 13-digit identity number
  • The child's ID or a 13-digit birth certificate with the child's ID number (If the child does not have an ID or a birth certificate with 13 numbers, the applicant must apply for one at the Department of Home Affairs be fore you apply for the child support grant).
  • If unemployed the applicant can tell this to the welfare official.
  • If applicant is working he or she must show proof of recent income or make a sworn statement.
  • If applicant is married he or she must show proof of spouse's income if they are working or make a sworn statement.
  • If applicant is not a parent of the child, he or she must show proof that they have permission to look after the child.
  • Any one looking after the child because the parents are dead or missing can also apply for the grant.

FACTSHEET 3

COMPREHENSIVE SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM

In November 1998, the Minister for Welfare, Population and Development set up an inter-departmental consultative process to determine the feasibility and requirements for the introduction of a comprehensive social security system in South Africa. The Department of Welfare is convening the task team as part of the consultative process.

SPECIFIC TERMS OF REFERENCE

  1. To review the current status of programs and provisions related to social security with the aim of identifying the gaps in the present system, investigating the manner in which the various provisions may be restructured, individually or in combination to provide for a comprehensive social security system.
  2. To review policy options within the context of international best practice and social solidarity principles underlying them.
  3. To provide Cabinet with recommendations for moving towards a comprehensive and integrated social security system in South Africa.

The inter-departmental task-team is planning to submit proposals to Cabinet by October 1999.

 

FACTSHEET 4

DISASTER RELIEF FUND

The Department of Welfare administers the Disaster Relief Fund as established in terms of Section 16 of the Fund-Raising Act, 1978 (act107 of 1978).

This fund is managed by a board appointed by the Minister for Welfare, Population and Development. The board may appoint a committee to carry out its objectives as prescribed and according to the needs of the situation.

The President may, by proclamation in the government gazette, declare an even to be a disaster, as outlined in the Act, if in his opinion the event has or is likely to have disastrous consequences.

Financial assistance is given on an ex-gratia basis for damage or loss with regard to the following:

  • Buildings: houses, outbuildings, walls, barns, cellars, factories, business premises and flats
  • Contents: furniture, equipment, personal effects and stock
  • Agriculture: livestock, implements, harvested crops and fences
  • Motor vehicles: including caravans that are used for accommodation

Factsheet 5

Welfare payment and information Service (WPIS)

The Department of Welfare needs to improve the operational efficiency of its grant payments. Every month about 3 million South Africans receive pensions or grants, totalling more than R16 billion for the past financial year. This is a major poverty alleviation programme of government.

The Department of Welfare will publish a tender to find a business partner to completely reengineer the payment of social grants and establish a new Welfare Payment and information Service (WPIS).

The objective of the WPIS is to design a service that will offer citizens who qualify at least the following:

  • Access to arrange of payment options including physical and electronic cash services and partial withdrawal of benefits
  • Access to a high quality service with quick turn around times between application and first payment
  • Value added services such as interest-bearing savings mechanisms and other micro-finance services
  • Access to information regarding the full range of welfare services offered in South Africa

The objective is also to offer government at least the following:

  • The most cost-effective way to administer public funds
  • Significant fraud reduction
  • Accuracy of beneficiary information to ensure that the service is targeted in line with government policy to reach the poorest of the poor
  • A high level of productivity of staff responsible for the payment and information functions
  • The ability to reconcile payments on a daily basis

These stated objectives will also improve medium to long term budgetary planning. The current cost of disbursing social grants is estimated at around R500m per month.

Portfolio Committee Briefing

08 September 1999

 

 

 

 

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