The National Council of Provinces passed the Social Assistance Amendment Bill at its plenary sitting on 22 October, and the Bill will now be sent to President Cyril Ramaphosa for assent.
The Bill (Bill 8B of 2018), which amends the Social Assistance Act of 2004, aims to provide for additional payments linked to social grants. These include providing for:
- payment of a social grant to a child responsible for a child-headed household;
- and social relief of distress in the event of a disaster.
Among other things, the Bill also aims to streamline and improve the process of appeals against decisions of the South African Social Security Agency, by providing for an Independent Tribunal to these appeals.
The NCOP’s passing of the Bill, without further amendment, follows consideration of the Bill by the parliamentary committees of both Houses of Parliament and consultation with the public on the Bill.
The Portfolio Committee on Social Development considered and finalised its consideration of the Bill on 17 March, following public hearings and submissions involving the Black Sash Trust, the Children’s Institute, the Centre for Child Law, the Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Office, the Children in Distress Network and Ms Nomhle Nkwanyana. Following these public hearings in February, the Portfolio Committee invited the Department of Social development to respond to the issues raised in the submissions.
The Select Committee on Health and Social Services finalised its report on the Bill on 14 October, without amendments. This followed briefings and public hearings in all provinces and, on 7 October, submission of negotiating mandates from all provinces.
To read the report of the Select Committee on Health and Social Services on page 55, in Parliament’s official Announcements, Tablings and Committee Reports dated 14 October 2020, please click: https://www.parliament.gov.za/storage/app/media/Docs/atc/a0f8aa8e-552d-47a2-96c7-fb58aed5d9ef.pdf
To read the report of the Portfolio Committee on Social Development from pages 10 to 11, in Parliament’s official Announcements, Tablings and Committee Reports dated 19 March 2020, please click: https://www.parliament.gov.za/storage/app/media/Docs/atc/daa45289-71d6-4b37-ba84-ae016d4ee72c.pdf