Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-55597f9d44-n4bck Total loading time: 0.488 Render date: 2022-08-13T06:22:12.831Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue true

Social Assistance and Dependency in South Africa: An Analysis of Attitudes to Paid Work and Social Grants

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 January 2010

REBECCA SURENDER
Affiliation:
Department of Social Policy, University of Oxford, 32 Wellington Square, Oxford OX1 2ER email: Rebecca.surender@socres.ox.ac.uk
MICHAEL NOBLE
Affiliation:
Centre for the Analysis of South African Social Policy, Department of Social Policy and Social Work, University of Oxford
GEMMA WRIGHT
Affiliation:
Centre for the Analysis of South African Social Policy, Department of Social Policy and Social Work, University of Oxford
PHAKAMA NTSHONGWANA
Affiliation:
Centre for the Analysis of South African Social Policy, Department of Social Policy and Social Work, University of Oxford

Abstract

Despite the absence of an unemployment grant in South Africa, there is growing concern that other social assistance provision might nevertheless weaken work motivation and create a ‘dependency culture’. This study explores attitudes about the relationship between grant receipt and paid employment in South Africa. Using both quantitative and qualitative data, it examines whether there is evidence of a ‘dependency culture’, the nature and strength of labour market attachment among grant recipients, and the opportunities and barriers to employment they face.

We found that both those in and out of work placed a high value on paid employment. Joblessness had not become ‘normalised’, and all categories of the workless were extremely motivated to get work. Grant recipients did not subscribe to a distinctive culture but to mainstream values and aspirations. While some benefit claimants subscribed to popularly promoted prejudices about other social assistance claimants, our findings appear to counter recent concerns about potential unintended effects of the current grant system. The key factors in reducing people's chances of finding employment seem linked to the structural conditions of the labour market and the wider economy rather than the motivational characteristics of the unemployed and the arrangements of the grant system.

Type
Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

African National Congress (ANC) (1994), The Reconstruction and Development Programme, Johannesburg: Umanyano Publications.Google Scholar
African National Congress (ANC) (2007), Polokwane Conference Resolutions, available at: www.anc.org.Google Scholar
Atkinson, A. B. and Morgensen, G. (1993), Welfare and Work Incentives, Oxford: Oxford University Press, Clarendon.Google Scholar
Bane, M. and Ellwood, D. (1994), Welfare Realities: From Rhetoric to Reform, Harvard, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Bertrand, M., Mullanaithan, S. and Miller, D. (2003), ‘Public policy and extended families: evidence from pensions in South Africa’, World Bank Economic Review, 17: 1, 125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Booysen, F. (2004), ‘Income and poverty dynamics in HIV/AIDS affected households in the Free State Province of South Africa’, South African Journal of Economics, 72: 3, 522–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Burchardt, T., Le Grand, J. and Piachaud, D. (2002), ‘Degrees of exclusion: developing a dynamic, multidimensional measure’, in Hills, J., Le Grand, J. and Piachaud, D. (eds.), Understanding Social Exclusion, Oxford: Oxford University Press, Clarendon.Google Scholar
Business Day (2008) ‘SACP flays muddled state policy making’, Linda Ensor, 3 March.Google Scholar
Case, A. and Deaton, A. (1998), ‘Large cash transfers for the elderly in South Africa’, Economic Journal, 108: 1330–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Case, A., Hosegood, V. and Lund, F. (2003), ‘The reach of the South African child support grant: evidence from KwaZulu-Natal’, Working Paper 38, Centre for Social Development Studies, University of KZN, South Africa.Google Scholar
Cichello, P. (2006), ‘Hindrances to self employment: evidence from the 2000 Khayelitsha Mitchell's Plain Survey’, Working Paper, Centre for Social Science Research, University of Cape Town, Cape Town.Google Scholar
Daniels, L. (2006), ‘Social grant system can't be sustained’, The Mercury, 21 August.Google Scholar
Dean, H. and Taylor-Gooby, P. (1992), Dependency Culture, Hemel Hempstead: Harvester Wheatsheaf.Google Scholar
De Koker, C., de Waal, L. and Vorster, J. (2006), ‘A profile of social security beneficiaries in South Africa’, Volume 1, Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, University of Stellenbosch, available at http://www.socdev.gov.za/documents/2006/2006.htm,Google Scholar
Department of Social Development (DSD) (2006a), ‘Minister to launch project aimed at reducing dependency on social grants’, Department of Social Development media statement, available at www.socdev.gov.zaGoogle Scholar
Department of Social Development (DSD) (2006b), ‘Strategic plan 2006/7-2009/10’, Department of Social Development, Pretoria (RP 22/2006).Google Scholar
Department of Social Development (DSD) (2007), ‘Linking social grant beneficiaries to poverty alleviation and economic activity’, Department of Social Development Report, Pretoria, available at www.socdev.gov.zaGoogle Scholar
Dinkelman, T. (2004), ‘How household context affects search outcomes of the unemployed in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: a panel data analysis’, South African Journal of Economics, 72: 3, 484521.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
du Toit, A. and Neves, D. (2006), ‘Vulnerability and social protection at the margins of the formal economy’, draft report for USAID.Google Scholar
Evans, M., Eyre, J., Millar, J. and Sarre, S. (2003), New Deal for Lone Parents: Second Synthesis Report of the National Evaluation, Leeds: Corporate Document Services.Google Scholar
Francis, E. (2006), ‘Poverty, responses and consequences in rural South Africa’, Chronic Poverty Research Centre, Working Paper No. 60, University of Oxford.Google Scholar
Gallie, D. and Paugam, S. (2000), Welfare Regimes and the Experience of Unemployment in Europe, Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Garner, S., Cowles, J., Lung, B. and Stott, M. (2009), ‘Sources of resentment and perceptions of ethnic minorities among poor white people in England’, Department for Communities and Local Government, London.Google Scholar
Handler, J. (2003), ‘Social citizenship and workfare in the US and Western Europe: from status to contract’, Journal of European Social Policy, 13: 3, 229–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
International Labour Office (ILO) (2004), Women and Men in the Informal Economy: A Statistical Picture, Geneva: ILO.Google Scholar
Jensen, R. T. (2003), ‘Do private transfers “displace” the benefits of public transfers? Evidence from South Africa’, Journal of Public Economics, 88: 89112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kingdon, G. and Knight, J. (2000), ‘Are searching and non-searching unemployment distinct states when unemployment is high? The case of South Africa’, Centre for the Study of African Economies Working Paper 2000-2, University of Oxford.Google Scholar
Klasen, S. and Woolard, I. (2005), ‘Surviving unemployment without state support: unemployment and household formation in South Africa’, Centre for Social Science Research Working Paper 129, University of Cape Town.Google Scholar
Lund, F. (2002), ‘Crowding in care, security and micro enterprise formation: revisiting the role of the state in poverty reduction and in development’, Journal of International Development, 14: 6, 681–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lund, F. (2008), Changing Social Policy: The Child Support Grant in South Africa, Cape Town: HSRC Press.Google Scholar
Martin, P. (2005), ‘Exploding the myth that social security breeds dependency’, Sunday Times, 24 April.Google Scholar
Mead, L. M. (1986), Beyond Entitlement, New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
Meth, C. (2004), ‘Ideology and social policy: Handouts and the specter of dependency’, Transformations, 56: 130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Muller, S. (2007), ‘Perverse outcomes or perverse priors? Re-examining the evidence on the social pension and labour supply in South Africa’, Paper presented at ‘Social Protection and Ideologies of Welfare in Southern Africa’, Oxford, 17 November 2006.Google Scholar
Murray, C. (1984), Losing Ground: American Social Policy 1950–1980, New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
Netshitenzhe, J. (2002), Sunday Times, 28 July.Google Scholar
Noble, M., Smith, G., Cheung, S., de Moor, D., Smith, T. and Whitlock, S. (1998), Lone Mothers Moving In and Out of Benefit, York: York Publishing Services for Joseph Rowntree Foundation.Google Scholar
Noble, M., Ntshongwana, P. and Surender, R. (2008), Attitudes to Work and Social Security in South Africa, Cape Town: HSRC Press.Google Scholar
Posel, D., Fairburn, J. and Lund, F. (2006), ‘Labour migration and households: a reconsideration of the effects of the social pension on labour supply in South Africa’, Economic Modelling, 23: 5, 836–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ranchod, V. (2006), ‘The effect of the South African old age pension on labour supply of the elderly’, South African Journal of Economics, 74: 4, 725–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Samson, M., Babson, O., Haarmann, C., Haarmann, D., Khathi, D., Mac Quene, K. and Van Niekerk, I. (2002), ‘Social security reform and the basic income grant for South Africa’, Report commissioned by the International Labour Organization (ILO), Economic Policy Research Institute.Google Scholar
Schoër, V. and Leibbrandt, M. (2006), ‘Determinants of job search strategies: evidence from the Khayelitsha/Mitchell's Plain Survey’, Centre for Social Science Research Working Paper 167, University of Cape Town.Google Scholar
Seekings, J. (2007), ‘Deserving individuals and groups: Justifying the shape of South Africa's welfare state’, Centre for Social Science Research Working paper No. 103, May 2007.Google Scholar
Seekings, J. and Nattrass, N. (2005), Race, Class and Inequality in South Africa, New Haven: Yale University Press (published in South Africa in 2006 by University of KwaZulu-Natal Press).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) (2008), ‘Statistical report on social grants’, Report No. 3, 30 April 2008, South African Social Security Agency, Pretoria.Google Scholar
Southern African Development Community (SADC) (2003), ‘Charter of fundamental social rights in SADC’, Dar-es-Salaam, 26 August.Google Scholar
Spicker, P. (2006), ‘Understanding incentives’, in ‘Report on Incentive Structures of Social Assistance in South Africa’, Department of Social Development, Pretoria, Republic of South Africa.Google Scholar
Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) (2004), Census 2001: Concepts and Definitions, Report No. 03-02-26(2001), Pretoria: Statistics South Africa.Google Scholar
Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) (2007), Labour Force Survey, Pretoria: Statistics South Africa.Google Scholar
Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) (2008) Quarterly Labour Force Survey Quarter 3, 2008, Pretoria: Statistics South Africa.Google Scholar
Surender, R., Ntshongwana, P., Noble, M. and Wright, G. (2007), ‘Employment and social security: a qualitative study of attitudes towards the labour market and social grants’, Department of Social Development, Pretoria, Republic of South Africa.Google Scholar
Surender, R. and Van Niekerk, R. (2008), ‘Addressing poverty through community based income generation projects’, Policy and Politics, 36: 3, 325–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Whitworth, A. and Noble, M. forthcoming, ‘A safety net without holes: an argument for a comprehensive income security system for South Africa’, Journal of Human Development, forthcoming.Google Scholar
Williams, M. (2007), ‘The social and economic impacts of South Africa's child support grant’ (extended version), Economic Policy Research Institute Working Paper #39, available at www.epri.org.zaGoogle Scholar
Wright, G. (2008), ‘Findings from the Indicators of Poverty and Social Exclusion Project: a profile of poverty using the socially perceived necessities approach’, Key Report 7, Department of Social Development, Pretoria, Republic of South Africa.Google Scholar
31
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Social Assistance and Dependency in South Africa: An Analysis of Attitudes to Paid Work and Social Grants
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Social Assistance and Dependency in South Africa: An Analysis of Attitudes to Paid Work and Social Grants
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Social Assistance and Dependency in South Africa: An Analysis of Attitudes to Paid Work and Social Grants
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *