Falling through the cracks : income security and the South African social security system

Bredenkamp, Caryn (2001-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2001.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis focuses on the extent to which the South African social security system succeeds in providing protection in the vulnerable periods of the life-cycle and against the major contingencies of unemployment, disability and disease. Through a detailed examination of the different social insurance and assistance programmes, it isolates which particular population segments (by occupation, income quintile and race group) "fall through the cracks" in the provision of income security. It does not look only at the articulation between different social insurance and social assistance programmes, but also acknowledges how social security complements other governmental interventions, such as social services, and non-state sources of income security, such as those provided by the private insurance market and the family and community. Part One of the thesis is devoted to an examination of social insurance in South Africa, in other words, to those programmes that seek to compensate for a loss of income in the event of particular contingencies and that are funded by contributions from employers and employees. In addition, theoretical perspectives on social security, and social insurance in particular, are provided, with a discussion of the various economic arguments in favour of and against the provision of social security. Part Two of the thesis examines the range of non-contributory social assistance - cash benefits paid form general revenue - that are available to South Africans who qualify in terms of the means tests. Each chapter provides an analysis of the extent to which the social assistance programme under analysis provides a safety net for the relevant category of vulnerable people. It does this by examining the appropriateness of the programme structure, take-up rates and the fiscal sustainability of the programmes. In addition, the budgetary process by which revenue is allocated to social assistance programmes and expenditure trends are examined. The thesis concludes that although the South African social security system has achieved a fairly advanced level of development and covers a fairly wide range of risks, there are a number of constraints facing its further expansion. Social insurance schemes provide generous benefits, but their membership is restricted to the employed. Expanding coverage by social insurance would require substantial growth in remunerative employment which, given prevailing labour market conditions, seems unlikely. The provision of more generous social assistance programmes catering for a broader range of contingencies is severely curtailed by already high fiscal expenditure on welfare and macroeconomic constraints. Moreover, changing demography, household structures and dependency burdens, especially as the HIV/AIDS epidemic spreads, seem likely to increase demands on social assistance programmes. Consequently, until employment can be expanded so that more people can contribute to their own income security, the informal social security provided by the family and/or community will remain the first line of support for many.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: In hierdie tesis word gefokus op die mate waartoe die Suid-Afrikaanse bestaansbeveiligingstelsel daarin slaag om ondersteuning tydens kwesbare periodes in die lewensiklus en beskerming teen groot gebeurlikhede soos werkloosheid, ongeskiktheid of langdurige siekte te bied. Daardie bevolkingsegmente (volgens beroep, inkomstegroep of ras) wat nie volledig toegang tot inkomstesekuriteit het nie, word uitgesonder deur 'n gedetaileerde ondersoek van die verskillende maatskaplike versekerings- en bystandsprogramme. Daar word ook gekyk na die artikulasie tussen die verskillende programme sowel as na hoe ander regeringsintervensies (bv. verskaffing van maatskaplike dienste) en private bronne van inkomstesekuriteit - verskaf deur die privaat versekeringsmark, die gemeenskap en die familie - deur maatskaplike bystand aangevul word. Deel Een word gewyaan 'n ondersoek van maatskaplike versekering in Suid-Afrika - daardie programme wat vir inkomsteverlies weens spesifieke gebeurlikhede probeer kompenseer en wat tipies deur bydraes van werkgewers en werknemers befonds word. Teoretiese perspektiewe op bestaansbeveiliging in die algemeen en maatskaplike versekering in besonder word ook verskaf en argumente vir en teen die verskaffing van bestaansbeveiliging word bespreek. Deel Twee ondersoek die reeks nie-bydraende bestaansbeveiligingsprogramme wat uit algemene owerheidsinkomste befonds word, asook bestedingstendense in maatskaplike bystand. Die tesis kom tot die gevolgtrekking dat, alhoewel Suid-Afrikaanse bestaansbeveiliging 'n redelik gevorderde vlak van ontwikkeling bereik het en 'n wye reeks risiko's dek, daar 'n aantal beperkinge op verdere uitbreiding is. Maatskaplike versekeringskemas bied uitgebreide voordele, maar lidmaatskap is tot indiensgeneemdes beperk. Uitbreiding van dekking vereis beduidende groei in formele indiensneming, wat onwaarskynlik lyk, gegewe huidige arbeidsmarktendense. Die verskaffing van gunstiger maatskaplike bystandsprogramme gemik op meer gebeurlikhede word ernstig deur reeds hoë fiskale uitgawes op welsyn en deur makroekonomiese oorweginge beperk. Verder sal veranderende demografiese strukture, huishoudingstrukture en afhanklikheidslaste, veral teen die agtergrond van die toename in HIVNIGS, aansprake op maatskaplike bystandsprogramme vergroot. Gevolglik sal die informele inkomstesekuriteit gebied deur die familie en/of gemeenskap die eerste of enigste ondersteuning vir groot dele van die bevolking bly, totdat indiensneming genoeg uitgebrei kan word sodat meer mense tot hul eie inkomstesekuriteit kan bydra.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/52269
This item appears in the following collections: