The Department of Social Development (DSD) provides social protection services and leads government’s efforts to forge partnerships through which vulnerable individuals, groups and communities become capable and active participants in the development of themselves and society.
Several pieces of legislation determine the department’s mandate, a number of which are under review, are the:
- Children’s Act of 2005, which sets out principles relating to the care and protection of children, and defines parental rights and responsibilities. It deals with Early Childhood Development (ECD), drop‐in centres and early intervention, children in alternative care such as foster care, child and youth care centres, and the adoption of children.
- Nonprofit Organisations Act of 1997, which establishes an administrative and regulatory framework within which non‐profit organisations (NPOs) can conduct their affairs, and provides for their registration by the department.
- Older Persons Act of 2006, which establishes a framework for empowering and protecting the elderly, and promoting and maintaining their status, rights, well-being, safety and security. It provides for older people to enjoy high‐quality social services while staying with their families and in their communities for as long as possible. It also makes provision for older people to live in residential care facilities the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act of 2008 regulates treatment services and facilities for substance abuse.
- Social Assistance Act of 2004, which provides a legislative framework for the provision of social assistance. The Act and its regulations set out the different types of grants payable, including social relief, and their qualifying criteria.
- 1998 White Paper on Population Policy for South Africa, which is aimed at promoting the sustainable development of all South Africans by integrating population issues with development planning in all spheres of government and all sectors of society
- 1997 White Paper for Social Welfare, which sets out the principles, guidelines, policies and programmes for developmental social welfare in South Africa. It provides the foundation for social welfare in democratic South Africa.
Over the medium term, the department aimed to increase the provision of social income support to poor and vulnerable people to improve their quality of life; develop policies, frameworks, and norms and standards to create a functional, efficient and integrated social development sector; and address social ills to empower individuals, families and communities. The department was expected to improve policy and legislation governing the social development sector, and ensure that it is consistently applied across all provinces.
Social income support to the poor and vulnerable
The social assistance programme is an important lever in government’s strategy to tackle poverty and inequality. Over the medium term, the department planned to continue using this lever to provide direct income support to the elderly, children, war veterans and people with disabilities.
The DSD is working towards the ultimate goal of universal access to quality ECD and by mid-2021, work was underway to facilitate the transfer of the ECD function to the Department of Basic Education by 1 April 2022.
By mid-2021, the department was planning to complete and table extensive policy proposals on social security reform over the medium period, such as augmenting the Child Support Grant benefit for orphaned children living with relatives; expanding social assistance coverage; and designing an institutional structure for a coherent, efficient and sustainable social security system.
In collaboration with other government departments and social partners, the department also planned to assess the feasibility of a basic income grant.
Developing policies, frameworks, and norms and standards for an enhanced social development sector.
The transformation and standardisation of social welfare services will continue to be a priority over the period ahead through the development and coordination of overarching policies, legislative frameworks, and norms and standards that promote defined, integrated, quality‐driven, professional and accountable service delivery.
This includes finalising a second amendment to the Children’s Act of 2005 to enable government social workers to render adoption services; drafting a Bill for social service practitioners to ensure the delivery of professional and accountable social services through the effective regulation of social service practice; revising the 1997 White Paper on Social Welfare, which is expected to lead to the development of a draft Social Development Bill and the National Community Development Policy Framework; and implementing the social development sector funding policy and accompanying guidelines to streamline the prioritisation and funding of welfare services across provinces, including for services delivered by NPOs.
Addressing social ills such as gender‐based violence, and HIV and AIDS
The work of the Welfare Services Policy Development and Implementation Support programme aims to build the capacity of social service practitioners to enable them to provide psychosocial support in areas such as HIV and AIDS prevention, and the fight against gender‐based violence.
Provincial departments provide additional measures such as psychosocial support through social workers and support to shelters, and funds for food relief and for HIV and AIDS and behaviour change NGOs were shifted to provinces from 2020/21.
National Youth Policy (NYP)
The NYP 2020-2030, also referred to as the NYP 2030, is a cross-sectoral policy aimed at affecting positive youth development outcomes for young people at local, provincial and national levels in South Africa.
Developed by the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, in collaboration with multiple stakeholders and young people, the policy was developed to redress the wrongs and injustices of the past and to deal decisively with the persistent as well as new and emerging challenges they are facing. The NYP 2030 defines young people as those aged between 14 and 35.
Blind SA is an organisation for the blind and is governed by the blind. Situated in Johannesburg, it is aligned with other member organisations throughout South Africa. The organisation provides, among other things, study bursaries for visually impaired students for further education, Braille publications in all of South Africa’s official languages, Braille training that entails writing and reading, and orientation and mobility training.
It equips blind people with the skills they need to fully and independently participate in society. This includes support in living without assistance, getting about, using technology, reading, working and socialising. All this is made possible through advocacy, our Education Committee, Braille Services, orientation and mobility services and our employment programme. It is through this, and the support of our donors, that we connect South African’s who are blind or visually impaired with the world they live in.
South African Braille Authority (SABA)
SABA is the standard setting body for and promotes and advocates for Braille and Braille-related matters in South Africa. The non-profit organisation advocates, promotes, monitors and evaluates for the ubiquitous use of Braille through literacy and the various facets and applications.
South African National Council for the Blind (SANCB)
The SANCB is a registered non-profit and public benefit organisation established in 1929 with the core objectives of advocacy and promoting the rights of persons with visual impairments, revention, inclusion and support.
As a South African national representative body for the blind, it offers a supportive, rights driven function to its nearly 80 member member-organisations.
The presence of its community work is felt throughout its nine provincial structures in South Africa.
The SANCB also lays emphasis on the prevention of blindness and in 1944 the Bureau for the Prevention of Blindness was established.
Support for the hearing impaired
The South African National Deaf Association (SANDA) is dedicated to providing quality services, ensuring public accessibility and increasing awareness of issues affecting Deaf people at all levels in South Africa.
The mandate of SANDA is to:
- build capacity in the Deaf sector;
- influence public policies;
- set the agenda for meaningful inclusive development; and
- provide comprehensive human development services that benefit Deaf people at all levels of society.
According Statistics South Africa’s Mid-year population estimates of 2021, about 9,2% (5,51 million) of the population is 60 years or older. South Africa’s Older Persons Act of 2006, which came into operation in 2010, recognises the importance of older persons in the country’s democracy and development.
The Active Ageing Programme was introduced by the DSD in partnership with the South African Older Persons Forum to uphold the human rights of older persons and to respond to their developmental needs in South Africa as directed by the Older Persons Act of 2006 and the Madrid Plan of Action on Ageing.
Its goal is to improve the quality of life of older persons by amongst others, promoting independence, participation in various social, cultural and sporting initiatives that seek to prevent and reduce old-age related burden of diseases.
This is part of the DSD’s effort to build a caring society that promotes and protects the human rights of people of all ages. Golden Games, which are part of the Active Ageing Programme, encourage senior citizens to be active and promote longer life for the aged. They participate in different sporting activities like soccer, athletics and a fun walk.
Source: Official Guide to South Africa