Report on the provincial inputs regarding Social Assistance Bill [B57B-2003]


1. Terms of Reference

The Social Assistance Bill [B57B - 2003] has been referred to the Social Development and Health Committee by the Prioritising Committee on 24 October 2003.

2. Briefing

(1) On the 24 November 2003, Adv. J. Machaka, Assistant Legal Advisor of the Free State Legislature briefed the Committee on the legal substances and effects of the Bill.

(2) A Permanent Delegate, Dr. PJC Nel, briefed the Committee on the content of the Bill.

(3) Mr G. Roberts and Ms Naicker from the Provincial and National Department of Social Development made a presentation with regard to Social Assistance Bill. The Bill provides for the rendering of social assistance to persons; to provide for the mechanism for the rendering of such assistance; to provide for the establishment of an inspectorate for social assistance; and to provide for matters connected therewith.

3. Consultation

The Committee considered the scope of consultation in the Bill and resolved that there was a need to provide stakeholders with copies of the Bill, to invite their inputs and to conduct public hearings.

4. Consideration

The Committee considered amendments to the Bill and further effected the following amendments:

Definition of "Agency"

To delete "2003" and to substitute "2004".

Definition of "beneficiary"

After "11" to delete "or" and to insert a comma and after "12" to insert "or 14".

Motivation: clause14 also provides for social assistance and should be included under the definition of "beneficiary". See also clause 5(1)(a)

Clause 2(2)

To delete "29" and to substitute "30".

Motivation: clause 30 provides for delegation of functions and not clause 29.

Clause 3(d)

Page 5, line 30 to delete "set" and to substitute "prescribed".

Motivation: minimum norms and standards are prescribed by regulation in accordance with clause 36(c).

Clause 4

After paragraph (g) to add "(h) a social relief of distress".

Motivation: "Social relief of distress" is also a social assistance and should be added to the list.

Clause 9(b)

After "disability" to delete a comma and to substitute a word "and".

Motivation: It is a proposal to make it easier for officials who will be interpreting clause 9(b) that not only a "disability" is a criteria, but also socio -economic status of the applicant in the assessment of disability grant.

Clause 13

With the advent of the "Agency", it is only the Agency that will administer and pay social assistance and provide related services related thereto. Clause 13, which has been taken over from the current Social Assistance Act, does not seem to be relevant any more.

Clause 15(1)

After "6 to 12" to insert "and 14".

Motivation: Clause 14 should also be included in the list of social assistance as it is also a social assistance

Clause 15 (4)

Page 7, line 42 to delete "or". In line 43 after "court;" to insert "or" and after paragraph (b) to add-

"(c) with the consent of the applicant".

Motivation: It is proposed to add an exception in the case the applicant gives consent.

Clause 24(2)

To delete "administrator" and to substitute "Agency".

Motivation: the word "administrator" was deleted by the Portfolio Committee of the National Assembly and substituted with "Agency".

Clause 25(5)

To delete "Executive Director" and to substitute "Inspector-General".

Motivation: the word "Executive Director" was deleted by the Portfolio Committee of the National Assembly and substituted with "Inspector-General".

Clause 31(c)

After "furnishes" to insert "the Agency or".

Motivation: the Portfolio Committee of the National Assembly deleted the words "the administrator or" without substituting "the Agency or".

Clause 31(d)

To delete "22" and to substitute "24".

A person is subpoenaed under section 24 or 29 and not 22.

Clause 35

To delete "2003" and to substitute "2004".

General recommendations

Clause 5(2) (b)

The Committee proposes that the combined income of spouses contemplated in the current regulations be dispensed with and be conducted on individual basis on every applicant.

Clause 6

The Committee proposes that children should not only qualify for child support grant until the age of 14, but that they should qualify until the age of 18 years, especially when a child is still at school. Furthermore a "child" is defined as a person under the age of 18 years and not 14 years.

Clause 7 and 9

The Department should consider using sessional doctors to assist with medical assessment of care dependency grant and Disability grant in public facilities.

Clause 8

Is it necessary for the child to be found in need of care by the children’s court before the child qualifies for a foster care child grant? It is suggested that the Child Care Act be amended as soon as possible to streamline the procedures. This would create greater access to foster child grants.

Clause 10

The Committee’s view is that the differentiation of 60 and 65 is based on old historical theories that women grow quicker than men. The Committee is concerned that the differentiation between men and women with regard to the age criteria might be unconstitutional.

5. Resolutions

The Committee resolved that:

1. The following negotiating mandate be conferred:

To support the Bill with the aforementioned amendments






Free State Legislature

22 JANUARY 2004