All South Africans have a constitutional right to social security. This includes poverty alleviation through social grants, which are now received by some 15 million people. It also includes access to income-protection and income-smoothing arrangements such as life insurance and pensions. Comprehensive social security is fully in line with Government’s key outcomes.
The proposed reforms will expand the social grants system and greatly enhance coverage of existing social insurance arrangements with a view to improving service delivery and maximizing value-for-money. Existing social security entities will reduce costs and improve efficiency by sharing administrative capacity, streamlining benefits and coordinating policymaking. Voluntary pensions and insurance arrangements will also need to improve the quality of the service they offer in accordance with a new regulatory framework to be introduced as part of the reforms.
The reforms will lead to a significant increase in workers’ incomes in retirement by introducing a mandatory social security fund, by ensuring that workers preserve their pension accumulations until retirement, and by improving the value-for-money offered by voluntary or employer pension funds. The mandatory social security fund will not only provide a government-guaranteed pension but will also offer benefits in the event of a worker’s unemployment, disability or death.
The Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on social security and retirement reform was established in 2007 to take up the work begun by the Taylor Committee in establishing a comprehensive system of social security. The IMC brings together representatives of National Treasury, the Department of Social Development, the Department of Labour, the Department of Transport, the Department of Health and the Department of Public Services Administration.