There are a lot of South Africans who rely on the welfare system to survive.
The number of social grants in South Africa has increased exponentially over the past 23 years, from an estimated 4-million in 1994 to 17,443,994 by October 2017.
In recent years, a growing chorus of voices has warned that the numbers are not sustainable.
Speaking to Eusebius McKaiser, Chief Operations Officer at Soul City Institute Zane Dangor said if one looks at our Bill of Rights, it makes provisions for social protection, it makes provision for a state that will take care of those who are unable to take care of themselves.
It has been modelled on what is essentially the international bill of rights, the government, civil and political rights and the government and social-economic and cultural rights which globally have been recognised.— Zane Dangor, Chief Operations Officer at Soul City Institute
If you don't have this package of issues within what a state or a society provides, you are going to have a society where the have-nots, those who cannot look after themselves, are going to be left on the periphery...the kind of society where you have a trickle down economy just doesn't work.— Zane Dangor, Chief Operations Officer at Soul City Institute
He adds that for those who argue that social protection is discretionary should read Section 27 of the Constitution which shows that it's not discretionary.
He said as a society we problematise the issue of dependency.
Firstly from a monetary perspective, we don't have the money, our social protection is at levels which we can categorise as survival levels.— Zane Dangor, Chief Operations Officer at Soul City Institute
So the quantum is too low to create dependency in the first instance. The second issue which we found, and this over a number of years of research, not just done by the South African government but by Unicef and the World Bank, found that contrary to what people believe, households who actually access some form of social income, whether it's through the old age pension or the child support grant, or the combination of the two, are more likely to go out and look for work.— Zane Dangor, Chief Operations Officer at Soul City Institute
He adds that we have a state that is compelled to provide for those that who cannot provide for themselves.
We provide for children because they are not in the economic space, we provide for the disabled because they are to in the economic space and we provide for the elderly because they are actually beyond the age where they can be active in the economy. We provide for the elderly, who after 30 years of work, retire into poverty because we don't actually have a retirement regime that ensures that nobody retires into poverty.— Zane Dangor, Chief Operations Officer at Soul City Institute
Listen below to the full interview to hear Zane Dangor thoughts on the welfare system in South Africa: