South Africa

South Africa Large flag
South Africa
Sub Region
Southern Africa
USD12, 630.00
Tax to GDP
* The latest available data between 2010-2020

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Country Report

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Social Assistance Overview

South Africa enacted laws on old age, disability and survivors, sickness and maternity, and work injury before the beginning of the post-apartheid era in 1994. All social assistance programmes, except for the Child Support Grant and the Expanded Public Works Programme, started operating before 1994. The Older Person’s Grant is the oldest social assistance programme, having been first legislated for in 1928 with the aim supporting older South Africa citizens who could not support themselves. In 2018, the programme reached 3,478,358 with a monthly cash payment ranging from US$297.76 to US$301.95. Three social assistance programmes were introduced in 1946 and these are the Care Dependency, Disability and Foster Child Grants. Of these, Disability has the largest number of participants, at 1,049,479 individuals in 2018. In 1998 a Child Support Grant was introduced and as at 2018, it had 12,337,152 individual participants. The Expanded Public Works Programme started in 2004 aiming to draw significant numbers of unemployed into productive work, accompanied by training, so that they increase their capacity to earn an income. The social assistance programmes allow applicants to appeal against selection decisions. South Africa has a single agency responsible for managing programmes and coordinating government efforts. The government fully funds the social assistance programmes and in 2015, social assistance spending was 3.17 percent of GDP, translating to social assistance expenditure of US$966.02 per poor person per year.

Ratified Regional and International Social Assistance related Instruments