An inclusive and responsive social protection system

NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN OUTCOME 13

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In 2030, South Africa is a working nation, individuals are engaged in meaningful activity, and vulnerable groups and citizens are protected from the worst effects of poverty. Everyone is able to live the life they wish to lead.

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Social protection – Downloads

Find out more about the National Development Plan.

National Development Plan – full text
National Development Plan – Chapter 11: Social protection
Medium-Term Strategic Framework 2014 to 2019 – Outcome 13: An inclusive and responsive social protection system
Infographic: Social protection

Social protection – The vision

The National Development Plan’s vision is that, in 2030, South Africa is a working nation, individuals are engaged in meaningful activity, and vulnerable groups and citizens are protected from the worst effects of poverty. Everyone is able to live the life they wish to lead.

A social floor has been defined and a multi-pronged strategy recommended to ensure that no household lives below this floor. Problems such as poverty induced hunger, malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies have been addressed.

In 2030, an inclusive social protection system addresses all areas of vulnerability and is responsive to the needs, realities, conditions and livelihoods of those who are most at risk.

By 2030:

• No-one lives below a defined minimum social floor.
• All children enjoy services and benefits aimed at facilitating access to nutrition, health care, education, social care and safety.
• Hunger, malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies that affect physical growth and cognitive development, especially among children, have been addressed.

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• The skills deficit in the social welfare sector has been overcome.
• Income support to the unemployed is provided through various active labour market initiatives such as public works programmes, training and skills development, and other labour market related incentives.
• All working individuals make adequate provision for retirement through mandated savings. The state provides measures to make pensions safe and sustainable.
• Social protection systems have responded to the growth of temporary and part-time contracts, and increasing importance of self-employment. The systems have set up mechanisms to cover the risks associated with these.
• An effective social welfare system delivers better results for vulnerable groups, with the state playing a larger role compared to now.
• Civil society complements government initiatives.

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Social protection – The challenges

Our social assistance system is well developed with wide reach and coverage, but the system is still fragmented, plagued by administrative bottlenecks and implementation inefficiencies.

Demographic trends and human development indicators point to a country with significant levels of social fragmentation, unacceptable levels of social alienation and the breakdown of social institutions.

Poor social welfare services and ineffective policing reinforce the sense of powerlessness in poor communities. The distribution of and access to both public and private social welfare services remains skewed along racial and income lines, with the wealthy having access to relatively effective private services.

The demand for social welfare services and care is increasing. Those with the ability to pay for social welfare services and care privately have the advantage of better services, whereas government-funded services, the quality of service is often plagued by inefficiencies, inadequate funding, competition for scarce resources and inadequate monitoring and oversight of services delivered.

One of the key issues is reaching all of those who are entitled to existing benefits of social assistance. The state continues to be accountable for high-quality and effective services that comply with policy and rules, and achieve specified outcomes and results.

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Social protection – Action required

South Africa must develop a comprehensive social protection system that includes social security benefits such as retirement, unemployment, death and disability benefit and – where necessary – social assistance such as public employment.

The concept of social protection includes community development and social welfare services – no-fee schools, health care services, housing, free basic services and subsidised public transport.

This social protection system must be sustainable, developed with the demographics of the country – including the increasing life expectancy – in mind. For one, the youth of today must not become an older population reliant on social assistance.

Specific action includes:

• Together with social partners, determine a social floor that can be progressively realised through rising employment, higher earnings and social grants and other aspects of the social wage.
• Increase the supply of four categories of social service professionals to 55 000, to respond to the demand for appropriate basic social welfare services, i.e. social workers, auxiliary or assistant social workers, community development workers, and child and youth care workers.
• Identify the main elements of a comprehensive food security and nutrition strategy and launch a campaign.
• Create incentives that encourage a culture of individual saving for risks and loss of income due to old age, illness, injury or loss of work for workers in both the formal and informal sectors.
• Explore designs of a mixture of financing and institutional frameworks that enables those in the informal economy to participate in contributory social insurance schemes.
• Pilot mechanisms and incentives to assist the unemployed to access the labour market.
• Expand existing public employment initiatives to create opportunities for the unemployed.
• Develop a consolidated institutional framework that supports coherent policy implementation, integrated social security administration, and effective regulation and oversight of the system.

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Social protection – Key medium-term goals for 2019

South Africa’s Medium Term Strategic Framework (2014 to 2019) identifies the following sub-outcomes to achieve an inclusive and responsive social protection system.

• Reforming the social welfare sector and services to deliver better results
• Improving the provision of early childhood development. All children should enjoy services and benefits aimed at facilitating access to nutrition, health care, education, social care and safety (access and quality)
• Deepening social assistance and extending the scope for social security
• Strengthening community development interventions
• Establishing social protection systems to strengthen coordination, integration, planning, monitoring and evaluation of services
• Developing a sustainable model of funding social development
• Increasing human resource capacity for the social welfare sector
• Improving household food and nutrition.

Social protection – Key medium-term targets for 2019

South Africa’s Medium Term Strategic Framework (2014 to 2019) identifies the following targets to achieve an inclusive and responsive social protection system.

13 social protection targetsGRAPHIC: MARY ALEXANDER

Researched, edited and compiled by Mary Alexander
Updated December 2015