Social security for poor is a temporary measure

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Pretoria - While appropriate social security provisioning plays a critical role in addressing the basic needs of the poor, it is only meant to be a temporary measure.

Addressing the media on Monday on the progress of projects in the Department of Social Development, Minister Edna Molewa said the department had begun piloting various initiatives to enable poor communities to become architects of their own development.

"The ultimate goal of social development is to engender self reliance and social cohesion and the department recognises that empowering people to strengthen their own capacities is the main objective of development and its principal resource," the minister said.

Some of these initiatives, she said, include Sustainable Livelihoods Cooperatives and Kwanda project.

She said the foundation of these initiatives was based on an understanding that people do not just want to be passive recipients of government grants and services but also active partners in their own development.

"The main objective of the Department of Social Development is to build a caring and integrated system of social development services that facilitates human development and improves the quality of life for all people, in particular those living in poverty or confronting other vulnerabilities.

"As government it is our responsibility to ensure that all South Africans have the resources necessary to enjoy an acceptable standard of living as our constitution enshrines the rights of all people in our country to dignity, equality before law, freedom and security," she said.

The minister further noted that the department's approach to development has to be understood within the context of government's commitment to international and national development obligations to improve the quality of life for all citizens and halve poverty by 2015.

With just a few years to go before 2015, the minister said she has no doubt that these measures will bring South Africa much closer to reaching the Millennium Development Goals, adding that in order for this to be achieved, the department needs to continue working together with all partners.

"It will require a concerted effort, both at the national and local level to sustain gains we have achieved so far and to step up efforts in areas where we are lagging behind," Minister Molewa said.

Currently, over 13 million citizens are receiving social assistance benefits and of these beneficiaries, over nine million are children.

The department aims to increase the qualification age limit for the child support grant up to 18 in a phased manner,