Social Development to prioritise poverty alleviation strategy, Basic Income Support

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

The Department of Social Development will in the 2023/24 financial year prioritise South Africa’s poverty alleviation strategy, which includes the policy on the basic income support.

Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu said this on Tuesday when she tabled the department’s Budget Vote 19 in the National Assembly.

“Working together in pursuit of realising the aspirations of the people of South Africa, during the 2023/24 financial year we will give priority to building a capable, responsive, ethical and fit for purpose Social Development portfolio.

“Working together with other government departments, we will produce South Africa’s poverty alleviation strategy which includes the policy on the basic income support for 18-59 year old people who are not working,” Zulu said.

The National Department of Social Development has been allocated the total budget of R263 billion for the 2023/24 financial year.

Included in this, is an amount of R253 billion which consists of direct cash transfer payments that the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) expects to pay to a projected 27 million eligible grant beneficiaries by March 2024.

The Minister said SASSA’s allocation accounts to an estimated 96.4% of the department’s total budget over the MTEF period which goes directly to the hands of the beneficiaries.

On the list of priorities for the new financial year is optimising the performance of Non-Profit Organisations (NPO) while implementing a risk-based supervision framework that will prevent the abuse of NPOs in money laundering, terrorism financing and proliferation financing.

The Minister said the department will also stregnthen the provision of care and support services for the survivors of gender-based violence and femicide through the provision and operationalisation of shelters, economic participation and psychosocial support services.

“Working with stakeholders across government, the private sector and civil society sector, the Social Development portfolio will improve its disaster preparedness, coordination and responsiveness; and devising economic participation interventions that particularly target our programmes’ pre-existing youth beneficiaries,” the Minister said.

In June last year the department introduced the Top-Up Child Support Grant (CSG) as part of the legal solution to address foster care backlogs.

Nearly a year later, the Minister said she remains concerned about the low uptake rate for this grant.

“In the quest to increase this number throughout the course of this financial year we are going to embark on a nationwide multi-media communication campaign. This Budget Vote marks the beginning of that communication campaign.

“Accordingly, I appeal to all those who are taking care of orphans and vulnerable children, faith- and community-based organisations to register such children for the Top-Up CSG,” Zulu said.

The Minister further appealed to Members of Parliament to spread the message to various constituencies across the length and breadth of the country.

“In the quest to raise the majority of South Africans above the challenges that afflict them, the Department of Social Development strives to be the embodiment of the hope that carries people into a life that is free from indignity and lack,” she said.

The department’s budget

The department’s total allocation for the 2023/24 financial year includes an additional R41 billion that will be directed towards:

-        the implementation and administration of the COVID-19 SRD until March 2024 as announced by the Honourable Minister of Finance (R35.7 billion and R400 million, respectively);

-        the inflationary increase of the value of grants (R5.8 billion); and

-        the compensation of employees (R15 million).

The department’s total budget allocation includes an amount of R7.8 billion for SASSA’s administration of grants.

Following the distribution of the amounts accordingly, an amount of R951 million remains for the department’s management and operations’ budget. This amount is further re-allocated towards the support services programmes as follows: 

  • Administration — R426 million;
  • Social Security Policy and Administration — R116 million;
  • Social Welfare Services — R267 million; and
  • Social Policy and Integrated Service Delivery — R141 million.