An exploration of public administration processes in alleviating poverty through child support grants: the case of Mthonjaneni Local Municipality.
Nxumalo, Jennifer Zanele.
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Poverty remains one of the key challenges for most South Africans and government continues to devise interventions, such as the Child Support Grant, that can address poverty at household level. This study sought to evaluate the effectiveness of public administration processes in alleviating household poverty through the CSG intervention in Mthonjaneni Local Municipality. Three public administration theories and principles including POSDCORB, New Public Management and the Batho Pele principles were applied simultaneously in this study. The findings derived from in-depth interviews, a focus group discussion and observations reveal that SASSA has devised a new strategy to improve the administration process of the social security grants, the Improved Grant Application Programme. The findings show that the new strategy has increased productivity by decreasing the time taken to process each application, and all processes are coordinated and well-controlled. The findings also reveal that there are several challenges faced by the South African Social Security Agency in Mthonjaneni Local Municipality including inadequate infrastructure, uninformed clients, and the failure of administrators to implement the Batho Pele principles, thus undermining the quality of service delivery as well as the effectiveness of the Improved Grant Application Programme. The findings also reveal that the administration processes only focus on the short term development of children, disregarding the long term development for the children whose grants lapse after the age of 18 years. Therefore, the current public administration processes are effective in alleviating household poverty only while the child is in the system, because more deserving children have access to the CSG. However, much needs to be done to improve the current processes and to also focus on what happens to the children after the grant lapses. The study thus recommends that SASSA administrators receive more training on how to uphold the Batho Pele principles. In addition, outreach programmes should be conducted in order to inform the community about the requirements for and benefits from the Child Support Grant. The study also recommends that SASSA together with the Department of Social development must devise developmental programmes for children while they are still in the system, to ensure that when the grant lapses when they turn 18 that they have received the necessary support and skills to escape poverty.