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Expanding the Social Security Net in South Africa: Opportunities, Challenges and Constraints

Author

Listed:
  • Kalie Pauw
  • Liberty Mncube

    () (Development Policy Research Unit, University of Cape Town)

Abstract

For a large proportion of the South African population social welfare grants are an important source of income. Rapid increases in government expenditure on social security between 2000 and 2006 has further increased poor households’ reliance on welfare grants and has been important in the fi ght against poverty. Given these apparent successes, many are calling for further expansions in social security provisioning, with the idea of developing conditional cash transfer schemes surfacing in policy circles from time to time. However, as we argue in this paper, various constraints to such expansions of the welfare net exist. Whereas in the past much of the increased expenditure on social security provisioning could be fi nanced out of government revenue overruns, it is likely that further increases will only be possible through a reallocation of government expenditure. Already there is evidence of a substitution taking place within the social budget: expenditure on education and health seems to have declined in favour of increased welfare transfer expenditure. This, we argue, is untenable and may harm the already weak education and health services in South Africa. Conditional grants linked to school attendance and visits to health clinics will only put further pressure on health and education services, as well as the agency responsible for disbursing and monitoring welfare payments in the country. We argue, therefore, that budgetary and service delivery constraints, at the present moment, present a strong argument against any expansion of the social welfare system in the immediate future.

Suggested Citation

  • Kalie Pauw & Liberty Mncube, 2007. "Expanding the Social Security Net in South Africa: Opportunities, Challenges and Constraints," Working Papers 07127, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
  • Handle: RePEc:ctw:wpaper:07127
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Haroon Bhorat & Carlene Van Der Westhuizen, 2012. "Poverty, Inequality and the Nature of Economic Growth in South Africa," Working Papers 12151, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
    2. Haroon Bhorat & Morne Oosthuizen & Carlene van der Westhuizen, 2012. "Estimating a poverty line: An application to free basic municipal services in South Africa," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(1), pages 77-96, March.
    3. Gadom DJAL-GADOM & Armand MBOUTCHOUANG KOUNTCHOU, 2016. "Cross-County Poverty Comparisons In Chad: The Impact Of The Oil Revenues Redistribution Policy," Region et Developpement, Region et Developpement, LEAD, Universite du Sud - Toulon Var, vol. 44, pages 61-78.
    4. Wiebelt, Manfred & Pauw, Karl & Matovu, John Mary & Twimukye, Evarist & Benson, Todd, 2011. "Managing future oil revenues in Uganda for agricultural development and poverty reduction: A CGE analysis of challenges and options," Kiel Working Papers 1696, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    5. d'Agostino, Giorgio & Scarlato, Margherita & Napolitano, Silvia, 2016. "Do Cash Transfers Promote Food Security? The Case of the South African Child Support Grant," MPRA Paper 69177, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Margaret Grosh & Carlo del Ninno & Emil Tesliuc & Azedine Ouerghi, 2008. "For Protection and Promotion : The Design and Implementation of Effective Safety Nets," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6582, January.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    social security net; social welfare; welfare grants; South Africa;

    JEL classification:

    • A1 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics

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