Social grants impact on poverty among the female-headed households in South Africa: a case analysis

13 Sep 2018

The social security system in South Africa plays an important role in mitigating the impact of socio-economic challenges among female-headed households (FHH). Social grants are expanded by the government as a measure of reducing poverty and improving the socio-economic indicators of the poor. South Africa?s social grant system is advanced and covers a wide range of vulnerable individuals over their life course from childhood to adulthood; into old age. Policy discourse surrounding the social grants focuses on the sustainability of the system and the implications to livelihood and socio-economic development. It is therefore important that the significance of social grants is shown and particularly highlight their impact on poor FHH. This study investigates the effectiveness of social grants as a safety net among FHH in Bophelong, South Africa. Data was collected from a total of 262 sampled FHH. A significantly larger proportion of FHH qualified for social assistance. Access to the old age pension, child support grant and disability grant remained relatively stable, highlighting the high take-up rate of this grant. Results indicate that social grants play an important role in poverty alleviation among FHH; this translates into a significant reduction of the incidence and severity of poverty in affected households.