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Country analysis > South Africa Last update: 2020-11-27  

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Committee reports of the Taylor Committee into a social security system for South Africa.

Committee Report No 12: Institutional framework for comprehensive social protection
[Download complete document - 117Kb ~ 1 min (35 pages)]

Table of contents

12.1. Introduction
12.2. Progress achieved in reforming the public sector
11.3. Public Service Transformation and Social Security Institutional Reform
  12.3.1. Standard challenges facing social security institutions internationally
11.4. Findings and recommendations of the committee
  12.4.1. Policy development and prioritization
  12.4.2. Allocation of resources
  12.4.3. Ability and willingness to pay
  12.4.4. Regulating the private sector
  12.4.5. Contracting model of service delivery
  12.4.6. Inability to target through means-tests, and the existence of “welfare traps”
  12.4.7. Introduction of a national identification and verification system
  12.4.8. Introduction of a smart card system
  12.4.9. Social Security Agency
12.5. Structure and functions of national public sector protection agency
  12.5.1. Integrated Institutional and Organisational Framework
  12.5.2. Social Security Board and Agency
  12.5.3. Governance Structures for Social Insurance and Related Organisations
  12.5.4. Social Protection Commission
12.6. Conclusion
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The term “institution” refers to more than an organisation. Institutions also refer to regularised patterns of behaviour or systems of legitimate enforceable rules embedded in social relations. The development of both institutions and organisational structures is primarily determined by the existing social, political and economic context.

Major shifts become possible, as in the case of South Africa, with changes from undemocratic to democratic forms of government and through the introduction of a Constitution. Such shifts usually preface the development of new policy, organisations and legislation that previously could not evolve due to imbalances in political and economic power. Nevertheless, the degree to which institutions and organisations change, and the manner in which they change, depends on the influence different stakeholders exercise on policy-making.

There is thus an inherent bias in institutional transformation, as there is in all social policy formulation, against vulnerable and marginalized groups. For example, if government introduces legislation to improve the rights of particular groups of vulnerable people, but because of institutional rigidities these rights are not implemented or are unable to be accessed then institutional change is required. International experience shows that this is not an uncommon outcome. As a result, the Committee’s view is that institutional reform processes with regard to socio economic rights and social security in particular, as a rule, should prioritise the participation of vulnerable and marginalized groups.

There are three important considerations to be taken into account:
  • First, due to the many domestic structural and capacity imbalances in South Africa, the market cannot be reasonably expected to lead this transformation process. Indeed, with poverty as persistent and pervasive as it is, building the capacity of the State and its public sector institutions is a central starting point for institutional transformation.

  • Second, the desired institutional structure must follow the chosen strategic functions and priorities set by the South African government in its role as a developmental State.

  • Third, socially and economically sustainable social security arrangements need to increase the integrity of households and communities to cope with socio-economic challenges, reduce dependency on grants, and effectively rationalise the existing social assistance grants system to ensure the policy objectives of government are met.

[Table of contents]

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