The impact of South African social welfare policies on pensioners raising orphaned grandchildren

Nel, Sumien (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2004-12)

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Very little attention has been paid in South Africa to the situations where grandmothers have become surrogate parents to their grandchildren and other vulnerable children who have been left destitute due to the HIV/Aids epidemic. These women, who are in great need of support are not directly factored into Aids-related policy and care strategies, even though they play a vital role in assuming the roles of surrogate parents to their grandchildren. Clearly elderly women are valuable resources and are both crucial and valuable for the role they play in the care of both Aids sufferers and Aids orphans. Grandmothers who assume such care-giving roles are not receiving specific and targeted support from government structures. Instead they only benefit peripherally from the legislation within the jurisdiction of Department of Social Development and the programs that are established by them. This study determined where government social and welfare polices can improve the quality of life of black female pensioners who are taking care of their orphaned grandchildren and other vulnerable children. Policy makers need to recognise that grandmothers are increasingly obliged to assume care-giving responsibilities for dying adult children and later for orphans, when their own physical and cognitive abilities may be declining. Instead of using their state pensions to enjoy their old age and spend their money on looking after their health, proper housing etc., black female pensioners are forced to assume additional responsibilities in looking after orphaned grandchildren and other vulnerable children who require food, clothing, proper housing, education etc. Such expenses imply that their pensions are not put to their intended uses. Due to their advanced age they find it increasingly difficult to earn income to support young children. Until now the South African government has done little to support older women who find themselves in such precarious circumstances and to recognise their invaluable contributions. Various recommendations are made in the report to improve this situation.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Baie min aandag is tot dusver nog in Suid-Afrika geskenk aan die omstandighede waar grootmoeders hulself bevind in die posisie van surrogaat ouer vir hul kleinkinders en ander kwesbare kinders wat haweloos gelaat is as gevolg van die HIVNigs epidemie. Hierdie vroue wat ondersteuning dringend nodig het, is nie regstreeks in berekening gebring by die verskeie Vigs beleide en ander versorginstrategiee en maatreels nie, al speel hulle 'n beslissende rol as surrogaat ouers vir hulle kleinkinders. Dit is duidelik dat bejaarde vroue 'n waardevolle hulpbron is en 'n onskatbare en onmisbare rol speel by die versorging van sowel Vigs Iyers as kinders wat weens Vigs ouerloos is. Grootmoeders wat hierdie versorgingsrolle aanvaar, ontvang geen spesifieke en doelgerigte ondersteuning van regeringstrukture nie. Instede daarvan trek hulle net voordeel uit wetgewing binne die jurisdiksie van Department van Openbare Welsyn en die programme wat daaruit mag voortvloei. Hierdie studie het vas gestel hoe die bestaande open bare en welsynsbeleide aangepas kan word om die lewenskwalitiet van swart vroulike pensioenarise wat vir hul ouerlose kleinkinders en ander kwesbare kinders sorg, te verbeter. Beleidmakers moet besef dat grootmoeders toenemend verplig word om om te sien na die versorging van hul eie sterwende volwasse kinders en mettertyd die versoging van dieselfde gestorwenes se kinders wat wees agtergelaat word. Hierdie toedrag van sake ontvou in 'n stadium wanneer hierdie vroue se eie fisiese krag en kognitiewe vaardighede waarskynlik reeds aan die afneem is. Instede daarvan dat hierdie vroue die staatspensioen gebruik om hul oudag te geniet en om te sien na hulle eie gesondheid, behoorlike behuising edm., is swart vroulike pensioenarisse verplig om hierdie beperkte fondse aan te wend vir die versorging, voeding, behuising en onderrig van hul ouerlose kleinkinders en ander kwesbare kinders. Sulke onkostes impliseer dat hul pensioen nie aangewend word vir die doel waarvoor dit ingestel is nie. Weens hul hoe ouderdom is dit vir hierdie vroue al hoe moeiliker om 'n inkomste te genereer om vir jong kinders te sorgo Tot nog toe het die Suid-Afrikaanse regering weinig gedoen om ouer vroue wat hulself in hierdie benarde omstandighede bevind, te ondersteun of om hul onskatbare bydrae te erken. Verskeie voorstelle word in hierdie verslag gemaak om die situasie te verbeter.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/49214
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