Food Security of Social Grant Recipients in a Low Income Neighborhood in South Africa
Grobler, Wynand C.J.
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The origins of social security in South Africa can be traced back to attempts by the previous apartheid government to create a welfare state for whites during the apartheid era. Since the first democratic election in South Africa in 1994, the total number of social security system beneficiaries increased from 2.4 million in 1998 to 12.4 million in 2008. Recent research has confirmed that the various social grants are well targeted at the poor and that they have a significant impact on poverty. However, the question arises: To what extent does the social security system ensure food security for households in poorer areas? This study analysed food security of households receiving government grants. A quantitative research method was deployed, and a stratified random sample of 295 questionnaires was administered in the township of Bophelong, a low-income neighbourhood in southern Gauteng, South Africa. Using the Household Food Insecurity Access Scale, households were classified into food secure and insecure. The total amount of social grants received per household, household size, and the age of the household head were found to exert a strong positive impact on food security. Conclusions include whether households who receive social grants, differ significantly from households who do not receive social grants, in terms of food security.