South Africa’s Constitution guarantees the right of all citizens to have access to social security, including, if they are unable to support themselves and their dependents, appropriate social assistance. Section 27 of Chapter 2 of the Bill of Rights states that “ (1) Everyone has the right to have access to (a) health care services, including reproductive health care, (b) sufficient food and water; and (c) social security, including, if they are unable to support themselves and their dependents, appropriate social assistance. (2) The state must take reasonable legislative and other measures within its available resources to achieve the progressive realization of each of these rights.”
Social assistance grants are one way in which the government gives people access to social security which is a right guaranteed in the Constitution. Everyone pays taxes to the government, through working (income tax) and buying things (VAT). Some of this money is used to pay social grants to people who cannot support themselves and/or their families.
The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) administers social assistance grants on behalf of the Department of Social Development.
Underpinning the whole welfare delivery system are the Batho Pele Principles (People First). This is a government programme to improve delivery in the public service and requires that eight service delivery principles be implemented by all public servants.
The Batho Pele Principles are as follows: