Social security and human rights - Socialwork

January 5, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Social Science, Sociology
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SOCIAL SECURITY AND HUMAN RIGHTS: THE SOUTH AFRICAN EXPERIENCE Dr B Simpson, School of Social Work and Community Development, University of KwaZulu- Natal, Durban, South Africa

South Africa

BACKGROUND:  Facts about South Africa  Population:

49,99 million  Almost one third (31,4%) are age 15 and below  7,5% are aged 60 and above  Racially diverse society – majority of population are African who have different cultural and linguistic traditions

BACKGROUND, cont SA has long history of colonial and apartheid oppression of African people by White minority  1994: First democratic election  1996: New constitution adopted with Bill of Rights – intention was to ensure that human rights were at the heart of all legislation and that human rights abuses would never again occur in SA 


Official unemployment rate: 25,3% Unofficial unemployment rate: Approx 40% An estimated one third of economically active Africans are in full time employment Most job seekers in their 20s and 30s have never had employment – concern because these young people are not gaining skills and experience for the future

POVERTY IN SA, cont  Poverty as a human rights issue: 

Range of social problems associated with unemployment – obvious effect on food security, shelter, health but also crime, disengagement with political processes, loss of hope for the future

THEREFORE, imperative that we address poverty

INEQUALITY IN SA  Gini co-efficient: 0,578

(10th in world)

 Higher among African households than non

African households (so inequality no longer between African and White, but between Africans)  Range of social problems associated with inequality – growing alienation and anger that poor people have not benefited from new government

SOCIAL SECURITY AS A HUMAN RIGHT  UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights:  

Art 22: right to social security Art 25: right to security in event of unemployment, sickness, widowhood, disability, old age and other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond the control of the individual Also: International covenant on economic, social and cultural rights


Section 27.1 of Bill of Rights: right to social security Section 28 specifically guarantees the rights of children to care and protection, including social services

THE SA WELFARE SYSTEM  Pre 1994: Residual welfare system    

Focus on curative services – casework with individuals and very little community work Tended to be based in urban areas with neglect of rural areas Residential care for vulnerable people Paternalistic view of welfare (worthy and unworthy people)

THE SA WELFARE SYSTEM, cont  IN ADDITION: The welfare system was

discriminatory 

 

Apartheid enforced through wide range of legislation Race determined benefits and access to services Benefits and services were unequal

THE SA WELFARE SYSTEM, cont  Post 1994: Developmental welfare approach

with the adoption of the White paper for

Social Welfare 1997 Rights based approach to social welfare  Greater focus on preventive and community based programmes, especially those that would link people with opportunities for income generation  Interestingly, retained the commitment to social security as a poverty alleviation measure 

SOCIAL SECURITY IN SA:  New government inherited fairly well

established, albeit discriminatory system of social security: 

 

1928: Old Age Pension for Whites 1944: Old Age Pensions extended to other race groups but Whites received higher amount 1947: Maintenance grant for single parents Also: War veterans pension, disability grants and foster care grants were introduced

SOCIAL SECURITY IN SA, cont  Post 1994: SA has 6 non contributory, means

tested state grants: 

   

Old age pension (and War veterans pension):R1080.00 per month (+/-100 euros) Child support grant (which replaced maintenance grant): R250.00 per month Foster care grant: R710.00 per month Disability grant: R1080.00 per month Care dependency grant: R1080 per month

SOCIAL SECURITY IN SA, cont  SA also has contributory social assistance

measures: 

Unemployment Insurance Fund: Employed people contribute to this fund and can claim benefits when unemployed and women on maternity leave can claim maternity benefits.

GAPS: There is no protection for never employed or those unemployed for long periods of time

SUCCESSES  Wide coverage:    

Nearly 14 million people get social security 66% of these are getting the CSG 18% are getting the OAP 12% are getting the DG

 OAP supports entire households

SUCCESSES, cont  CSG linked with   

Improved school attendance Improved health in terms of growth Children who live with mothers more likely to be getting the grant

CHALLENGES  Means test still excludes whole categories of

people     

Child headed households Street children People who are just above the threshold Old people who own property but have low income People who don’t have identity documents

CHALLENGES, cont  Unintended consequences  

HIV+ people not taking ARVs Recipients of grants not accepting part time work (so they are not getting experience) Community perceptions that teens are falling pregnant to access grant but leaving infant in care of grandparents Low level of support, especially CSG, keeps people poor

CHALLENGES, cont  Concerns about  

Sustainability: only 10% of population pay taxes Long term effects of ‘culture of dependency” in terms of work seeking behaviour, sense of self worth and emotional well being

SOME QUESTIONS??  Is social security the best way to reduce poverty and    

inequality?? Is right to social security an “absolute” right? If social security is not comprehensive and universal, can it be considered a human right? What is the role of social workers in ensuring that those who are eligible, receive what is their “right”? What is the role of social workers in working towards a better society (where social security would not be needed?)

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