The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) plays a vital role in providing social assistance to millions of vulnerable South Africans. Established to administer social grants and alleviate poverty, SASSA operates within the framework of the South African government. In this blog post, we’ll explore the department under which SASSA operates and the significance of its placement within the government structure.
The Department of Social Development:
The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) is a national agency of the South African government created in April 2005 to administer South Africa’s social security system, including by distributing social grants, on behalf of the Department of Social Development (DSD). It is under the oversight, but not the operational control, of DSD and the Ministry of Social Development. Established in terms of the Social Assistance Act of 2004 and South African Social Security Agency Act of 2004, SASSA is a public entity in terms of Schedule 3A of the Public Finance Management Act. As of 2022 its chief executive officer was Busisiwe Memela-Khambula.
SASSA was founded in 2005 to centralise the provision of social security assistance, formerly a primarily provincial function, in order to reduce corruption and improve service delivery It was closely modelled on its Australian counterpart, Centrelink Its key functions relate to the administration and payment of social grants, which support a large proportion of the South African population: in 2022, 46% of South Africans received a social grant.SASSA’s functions including processing applications for social security assistance, verifying and approving applications, disbursing and paying the grants to eligible beneficiaries, and preventing and detecting fraud.
SASSA operates under the umbrella of the Department of Social Development (DSD) in South Africa. The DSD is a key government department responsible for the formulation and implementation of social policies and programs aimed at improving the quality of life for all citizens, particularly those in need.
SASSA’s placement under the Department of Social Development reflects the South African government’s commitment to addressing poverty and providing social assistance to those in need. The collaboration between these entities allows for the efficient administration of social grants, policy alignment, and an integrated approach to social development. While challenges exist, ongoing efforts to improve systems and communication are helping to ensure that SASSA continues to fulfill its critical role in supporting vulnerable South Africans.