Parliament has passed the Social Assistance Amendment Bill and sent it to president Ramaphosa for assent.
The bill was tabled in parliament in April 2018.
The social development department called for comment on the bill at the end of 2016.
The bill lapsed at the end of the 5th parliament but was revived by the national assembly (NA) in October 2019.
The NA passed the bill and sent it to the national council of provinces for concurrence in June 2020.
The bill seeks to amend the Social Assistance Act of 2004 so as to:
• insert new definitions;
• provide for additional payments linked to social grants;
• provide for payment of benefits to a child-headed household;
• provide for social relief of distress in the event of a disaster;
• repeal the internal reconsideration process;
• provide for an Independent Tribunal to consider appeals against decisions of the Agency;
• provide for the establishment of the Inspectorate as a government component; and
• provide for matters connected therewith.
In terms of the appeals process, the bill proposes that appeals regarding grant applications can be lodged immediately upon receiving a decision from the South African Social Security Agency with the Independent Tribunal within a period of 90 days.
The proposed legislation also proposes that a primary care giver of a child or a child who heads a child-headed household are eligible for a child support grant.
The bill also seeks to empower the social development minister, in agreement with the finance minister, to prescribe an additional payment linked to a social grant.
The portfolio committee on social development, during deliberations, amended clause 7 of the bill with the insertion of “after consultation with parliament”.
The select committee on health and social services adopted the bill without amendments.