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The effectiveness of old age grants in improving the lives of beneficiaries: the case of Clermont and Kwa-Dabeka local offices.

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Many South Africans are faced with the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality, which the South African government is trying to address as the number of people facing them is too high. South Africa's Constitution guarantees the right of all citizens to have access to social security including, if they are unable to support themselves and their dependents, appropriate social assistance. Social assistance grants are one way in which the government gives people access to the social security guaranteed in the Constitution. The objective of the study was to assess and evaluate the effectiveness of the implementation of social assistance, and to determine if the Old Age Grant was sufficient for pensioners to take care of themselves and their families. The study focused more on the elderly as they use the grant money to take care of their families and are the main beneficiaries. For this study a qualitative research method was used, whereby semi-structured interviews were used to collect data from the SASSA officials, and a semi-structured interview schedule was used for a focus group discussion with the beneficiaries of the Old Age Grant. A qualitative data analysis was performed and the data collected was arranged, categorized, and analysed. The findings were that SASSA grants had lifted millions of people out of poverty, although there were mixed emotions as some felt that, as much as the social grant helped them and their families, the amount was not enough. It was concluded that as much as the SASSA staff were ready to offer assistance to the applicants and provide all the facilities available to the applicants, there were also issues on the part of the applicants. This was especially relevant to the old people who came to apply for the Old Age Grant and forgot to bring the necessary documents that they needed to bring when coming to apply. Based on the findings and conclusion of the study, the researcher made the following recommendations: government should try and look at structures that could help the social grant beneficiaries, especially the elderly who lived with their grandchildren. The issue of foster children should be taken into consideration, in that the social grant beneficiaries who lived with and took care of their grandchildren should receive the foster care grant in addition to the Old Age Grant benefit so that they could put bread and butter on the table.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.