17 May 2017

South Africa: Social Security Discussion - High-Sounding Rhetoric or Subject for Reform?


If the subject of social security is an emotive issue, then the politics of reforming it is undoubtedly a divisive one. Despite that, with the ongoing re-examination of the financial sector, there is an urgent need for heightened focus on programme reform of the social security system in South Africa.

The last package of reforms last emerged in the form of a discussion document entitled "Comprehensive social security reform in South Africa" published in 2012.

The motive then, and even now, is that the existing framework it is too fragmented and riddled with inequalities that do not address the deep-rooted social and economic disparities in the country. However, other than the endless discussion and policy documents that such dialogues have engendered, there has been no political will to bring about tangible reforms to the current regime. That simply goes to give credence to the assertion that the lengthy "peaceful" period in the social security system meant that there was no urgency on the part of government to reconsider the current regime. In fact, until the recent Sassa saga, social security was not a priority on the government's agenda. One would have thought that the recent events in the department would...

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