South Africa’s Minister of Social Development, Ms. Lindiwe Zulu, accepted the International Social Security Association (ISSA) Good Practice Award for Social Security in Africa on May 17, 2023, on behalf of the department. The award recognizes the country’s commitment to providing social security protection for vulnerable children, specifically the Child Support Grant (CSG) initiative.
The Child Support Grant Initiative
South Africa’s award-winning entry, titled “Gradual extension of social security coverage to vulnerable children: The case of the Child Support Grant, South Africa,” demonstrates the country’s dedication to extending social security coverage to vulnerable children. The CSG replaced the racially discriminatory State Maintenance Grant in 1998, which only benefited white families.
The CSG has grown in value from R100 per month to R500 as of April 1, 2023, and the age limit for beneficiaries has increased from 7 to 18 years. Over 13 million children now receive the grant, with R76 billion disbursed annually to support these young lives. The Department of Social Development introduced a supplementary provision of R250 starting June 1, 2022, to support relatives caring for orphans and children in child-headed households.
Minister Zulu views the CSG as an investment in the lives of children from poor and vulnerable households and part of a larger social protection framework that includes free schooling and healthcare.
Recognition for the South African Social Security Agency
During the award ceremony, the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) received three certificates of merit for providing social relief during the COVID-19 pandemic and regional floods in KwaZulu-Natal province. They were also recognized for introducing electronic deductions on funeral insurance premiums for social grant beneficiaries.
The Africa We Want
Minister Zulu emphasized South Africa’s dedication to social security coverage from a human rights perspective, in line with Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want. She met with counterparts responsible for employment, social protection, solidarity, and the fight against poverty, encouraging accelerated reforms and cooperation within the sector.
ISSA Regional Social Security Summit
The ISSA operates under the auspices of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and is the leading international organization for social security institutions and government departments and agencies. Minister Zulu will participate in a joint session with the African Union and the ILO at the ISSA Regional Social Security Summit, featuring the official launch of the “Africa Social Security Institutions Coordination and Cooperation Forum” within the African Union’s framework.
The ISSA Good Practice Award for South Africa’s CSG initiative highlights the nation’s commitment to providing essential support for vulnerable children and serves as an example for other countries seeking to implement similar programs in their social security systems.