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Green Paper on Comprehensive Social Security Under the Spotlight

June 8, 2022

Department of Social Development

The Green Paper on Comprehensive Social Security has been drawn up.

The social development department confirmed this in a briefing in parliament on its Quarter 1 – 3  Report 2021-22.

The Green Paper was published for comment in August 2021 but withdrawn shortly thereafter.

The Green Paper focused on an overview of social security reform; existing social security arrangements; an integrated system of social security; financing social security and impact; governance framework and institutional framework and the reform roadmap.

Key weaknesses of the existing social security arrangements identified included the absence of a statutory pension and insurance arrangement; limits to the reach of social assistance; fragmentation of social security arrangements; variable quality of coverage in private-sector arrangements and lack of coherence with the labour market.

Proposed measures to address the weaknesses included that the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) will pay benefits on retirement, disability, death prior to retirement or unemployment to all workers funded by mandatory contributions; means tests for social grants to be gradually eliminated so that all who need social assistance receive it; the setting up of a single department responsible for social security to unify policy making; an approved funds framework will ensure that only well-run and transparent voluntary retirement and insurance arrangements will be eligible for tax-incentivized contributions and policies on social security to be closely aligned with labour-market policies and government priorities.

The Green Paper pointed out that there is a need to speed up the “implementation of a social security system that is centred on universal coverage, adequacy, affordability, efficiency, long-term sustainability and comprehensiveness”.

In an earlier statement, the department indicated that the decision to withdraw the Green Paper is to “provide better clarity on some of the matters entailed in the paper”.

The department added that some of the technical aspects of the proposals were “not well understood and many have misrepresented the proposals” particularly with regard to the National Social Security Fund.

During the briefing, the department pointed out that it plans to refine some sections of the paper before approaching cabinet for approval to revive the consultations.

The department also indicated that the Policy on Linking Children Grants Beneficiaries to Government Services and the Policy on Maternal Support have been revised and stakeholder consultations were conducted with National Child Care and Protection Forum, Social grants beneficiaries and the Provincial DSD.

Other developments include:

  • Policy Proposal on Income Support to 18-59 Year Olds reviewed and finalised;
  • Consultations on the Discussion document on the Draft SASSA Amendment Bill conducted with civil society organisations and research institutions – the proposed legislation aims to address some governance weaknesses in the current legislation to enhance the supervision and oversight of SASSA to ensure that the legislative intent of the social assistance framework is achieved; and
  • Draft Policy on Voluntary Cover for Retirement and Risk Benefits for Atypical and Informal Sector Workers developed.