The administration of old age grants : determining its influence on poverty alleviation in the Kgautswane rural community
Mokgala, Mosekami Piet
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Poverty and inequality remain high in South Africa. Social grants are a mechanism implemented by the government to eradicate poverty. Post-apartheid South Africa has achieved significant transformation to adjust the ills imposed by the previous administration. Part of this transformation includes the transformation of the public service to render services effectively, efficiently and ethically. The focus of this study was to investigate how the administration of the Old Age Grants influences the livelihoods of beneficiaries in the Kgautswane rural community. Policy without effective, efficient and ethical implementation is as much use as none at all. The study investigated how policies of social security are implemented by people into practices that influence the quality of lives of beneficiaries. In the past, the use of grants was constrained by the complexity of the application process and onerous documentation requirements. This meant that many of those eligible for grants were not receiving them. Application was also complicated by the fact that the Department of Social Development, responsible for the administration of the grants, had inadequate capacity. In recognition of these constraints, the government endeavoured to simplify the grant administration process by establishing South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), an agency that is responsible for administering social grants. The Department of Social Development retained responsibility for policy development. Alleviating poverty will remain a key challenge for government. Social welfare is a necessity for South Africa as developmental state, but this implies that there is a need for a concerted effort by government to ensure the appropriate administration of this system to the benefit of the country, including the tax payers who fund the system. Beneficiaries remain dependent on the system for their continued livelihood, and the effective, efficient and ethical administration of the system will contribute to the development of a capable state, able to sustain the social contract with its citizens.