The president, Jacob Zuma will today, July 19, lead the 10th year celebration of the existence of the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), which runs South Africa’s social assistance programme that helps in poverty alleviation in the country.
The 10th year celebrations which will serve as an opportunity for Government to assess progress made since its inception as well as its set backs.
The celebration will also have direct interaction with social grant beneficiaries where they will be able to name the challenges they face in accessing the grants.
SASSA, an agency of the Ministry of Social Development, was established in terms of the Social Assistance Act 13 of 2004 to provide comprehensive social security services to eligible poor and vulnerable South African citizens. To date, SASSA pays social grants to more than 17 million South Africans with a monthly investment of R11 billion.
The programme has since its inception, played an important role of breaking the cycle of poverty through provision of social grants and also Social Relief of Distress (SRDs) such as school uniforms to children from poor households.
The social grants has over the years assisted families and children including those who are orphaned due to HIV and Aids. It has also assisted families that are not be able to put food on the table.
Given the gloomy economic climate which makes the creation of jobs difficult, and also the fact that some of the job seekers are unemployable due to lack of skills, the grants are to help poor citizens address their basic needs
The social assistance programme comprises the following grants and numbers of beneficiaries:
Child Support Grant – 11, 9 million
Old age grant – 3.2 million
Care Dependency Grant – 131 375
Foster Care Grant – 493 012
War veterans – 230
Disability grant – 1.7 million
The SA government has through the comprehensive social protection system, been able to achieve goals of reducing extreme income poverty. The Social protection programmes include social grants, access to free education for more than nine million children, primary health care for the poorest and the provision of free basic services of lights and water to indigent members of our society in municipalities.
Last year, more than 455 922 learners living in youth headed households passed matric through the intervention of Isibindi Programme and 304 913 of these learners survived on social grants.
Noting the successful extension of social grants to over 16 million, government through the Department of Social Development, works on proposals for the creation of comprehensive social security system that combines contributory and none contributory elements to eradicate poverty and income protection for everyone living in South Africa.
The celebrations will take place at Eqhudeni, near Khombe Police Station, Kranskorp, KwaZulu-Natal by 10h00