South Africa: Social Development Improves Process of Social Grants for Orphaned Children

The Ministry of Social Development issued the Social Welfare Amendment Act Proclamation on May 30, 2022, effectively improving the social welfare program for the benefit of orphans and vulnerable children. Social assistance is one of the largest child protection programs in the country and currently reaches just over 13 million children.

It comes as the country commemorates Child Protection Week which was launched in Lusikisiki, Eastern Cape on May 29, 2022 and ended in KwaZulu-Natal on June 5, 2022.

The commemoration aims to raise awareness of the many incidents of teen pregnancy, abuse and exploitation by focusing on reducing and preventing teen pregnancy through prevention and early intervention programs. The campaign further strengthens partnerships with various stakeholders, primarily parents, families and communities.

During Child Protection Week, the Department highlights service offerings and promotes the rights, welfare and protection of children.

In addition, the children have the possibility of expressing the problems which concern them and of proposing solutions to them.

The law amending social assistance aims in particular to provide for additional payments linked to social allowances, in particular the implementation of the extended child support allowance (CSG) policy for orphans cared for by parents ( CSG Top-Up).

This political intervention empowers the Minister of Social Development, in agreement with the Minister of Finance, to provide an additional 50% more on the maintenance allowance for orphans cared for by parents eligible for the CSG. These children will receive their basic CSG which is currently R480 plus an additional R240 (50% of the basic CSG), bringing the total amount to R720.

This provision is an important part of the overall legal solution to the challenge of foster care, as it will allow parents caring for orphans to quickly obtain social assistance by applying directly to SASSA without having to need prior investigation, report and order from social worker.

The CSG supplement eases the burden on social workers facing high workloads in foster care by reducing the number of new applications and biannual extensions. This will free them to provide adequate protection and care services to all children in need of care and protection. This is not a new subsidy, but rather a reinforcement of the existing CSG system in the form of an “additional” amount.

The CSG is one of the government’s most successful social protection interventions for children living in poverty. The CSG supplement will expand this successful program with a focus on the most vulnerable children – orphans living with adult parents and orphans living alone in child-headed households, who will now be able to access the benefit for themselves. . This policy extends child care and protection to these vulnerable groups of children.

Orphaned children living in poor families and children living in child-headed households that are not adequately supported financially have justified policy intervention for income support.

This intervention strengthens and supports the safety net of orphaned children through a specifically defined additional accessible cash benefit.

This will allow parents caring for orphans to provide the basic needs and support that are required in their extended family environment without removing them from the households they know.

To qualify for this benefit, applicants will need to prove that a child is an orphan by providing:

“(a) certified copies of the death certificates of the parent(s) of the child; or

(b) where the death certificate of one of the child’s parents cannot be obtained by the applicant, a certified copy of the death certificate of one of the parents and an affidavit from the applicant attesting to the unknown status of the child child’s other parent.”

The amendment will also make it easier to apply for CSG and CSG Complémentaire online, which will also ease the burden on primary caregivers having to travel long distances or queue at SASSA offices to apply. It will also reduce their risk of exposure to Covid-19.

Eligible caregivers can now apply for the CSG top-up at any local SASSA office and online starting today, June 1, 2022, which is also International Day of the Child.

Applicants will also be able to track the status of their applications using the online portal. Notifications of the outcome of their online application will be sent by text message or email.

Joel C. Hicks