Case study G: Comprehensive social protection reform in South Africa
Open access

South Africa has a fairly limited social protection regime which consists of targeted social assistance, very limited social insurance, focused mainly on unemployment insurance and occupational injuries and diseases, and voluntary private contributory regimes for health insurance, pensions, loss of income and loss of support. In financial terms private forms of coverage, which involve no formal statutory social guarantees, substantially exceed the combined expenditure on social assistance and insurance. The fragmented institutional framework for the determination and implementation of social security policy complicates reform and suggests why social protection is out-of-step with the social context which reflects deep inequality, poverty and unemployment. This chapter examines the rationale for the implementation of a comprehensive system of social protection in South Africa looking at gaps in income support and the institutional framework required to ensure that the social protection system is responsive to societal needs.