“Everyone has the right to have access to social security, including, if they are unable to support themselves and their Dependents, appropriate social assistance. The state must take reasonable legislative and other measures, within its available Resources, to achieve the progressive realization of each of these rights.” - Section 27 of the South African Constitution
English version | Tsonga version | Setswana version | Tshivenda version | Somali version | Zulu version | Afrikaans version | French version | Sesotho version
Black Sash and CDH jointly compiled an educational pamphlet on Stockvels in South Africa.
We are excited to share our latest food justice project: Happy, healthy Me!
Happy, healthy Me is a short and fun way for young kids to be introduced to the Constitution, their socio-economic rights, and their food rights. The book also teaches young children how to start a food garden, how to cook easy recipes, and where some of their food comes from! It comes in both a full colour and colouring book version.
To download Activity Book, Click here (Colour in version)
The effectiveness of the Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant in alleviating hunger and extreme poverty has reignited calls by Black Sash amongst others for the state to consider a permanent system of Basic Income Support for those aged between 18 and 59, with little or no income, who were previously excluded from the social assistance system.
In May 2022 Black Sash published a qualitative, case-study based, report on the SRD Grant; the culmination of an analysis of the policy framework, the regulations and delivery systems that have framed the establishment of this grant, as well as interviews with SRD Grant applicants to assess the impact of application processes, particularly for women and young people.
As our findings and recommendations outline, a permanent BIS needs to form part of a broader social protection floor, in order to realise a more just and equitable society in South Africa.
The Child Support Grant (CSG) as it currently functions is inadequate to meet the nutritional needs of children. These inadequacies are wide ranging and debilitating for these children, their caregivers and the households within which they live. Serious consideration needs to be given to rethinking the current CSG model to provide for the basket of nutritional needs and other basic needs of children.
Based on the understanding that even though poverty and hunger are economic issues, they are also deeply social and psychological, this study is grounded on twelve case studies in which caregivers of children on CSGs were interviewed in depth about the ways in which the cash transfer is managed by households in terms of food and other basic needs.
To download the report, please click here.
Click here to watch the Children, Social Assistance and Food Security launch.
The Black Sash, in collaboration with the Stellenbosch University Law Clinic, published this comprehensive manual about debt, credit and consumer rights as an educational tool to better equip community advice offices.
Click here to watch the four-part animated educational video series
Click here to watch the Debt, Credit and Consumer rights virtual workshop
The Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) Grant drew millions of unemployed people into the social assistance framework who had previously been excluded. Since the termination of the Covid-19 SRD Grant in April, they have been excluded yet again.
This report explores the implementation of the Covid-19 SRD Grant, investigates the systemic challenges involved, outlines how community based organisations tried to support people to apply, as well as providing insights into the very personal impacts of the grant on beneficiaries.
The findings of the report make recommendations for the implementation of permanent Basic Income Support for those aged 18 to 59 years with little or no income.
[WATCH]: The virtual launch of the Social Protection in a Time of Covid: Lessons for Basic Income Support research report in July 2021.
South Africa has a large social grant system meant to provide assistance to vulnerable individuals including the elderly, disabled and children. These grants have however become the object of, or collateral for, debt. Grant recipients often need extra money for emergencies and unexpected expenses, but credit options available to them entail exploitative products or practices.
This research report uses case studies to explore the ways in which grant recipients access credit in both formal and informal sectors with a series of recommendations.
[Watch]: The virtual launch of the Social Grants: Challenging Reckless Lending in South Africa research report in September 2021.
This booklet on the protection of the personal information of social grant beneficiaries has been prepared by Bowmans Attorneys and Black Sash for information and education purposes. Our hope is that it will give you the information you need to raise awareness about the importance of protecting personal information, that of social grant beneficiaries in particular, and to assist you in protecting and helping those in your community.
Download the booklet (.pdf)
This report documents presentations made at the third Social Security Seminar on a range of topics related to comprehensive social security for South Africans, in particular adults aged 18–59, among whom there is a high level of unemployment and no social assistance.
The aim of this seminar was to stimulate debate in support of how to respond to the needs of unemployed and destitute adults and to put income squarely on the agenda.
Download the Black Sash Social Security Seminar Report (2016)
The Paralegal Manual is an invaluable tool for anyone who works in the field of development and access to justice. It provides up-to-date information on most of the laws and legal procedures that affect everyone who lives in South Africa. The manual has been specifically developed to aid NGOs, advice offices, shop stewards, community development workers and others who assist disadvantaged individuals and communities to access state services or to sort out legal problems.
"This publication explores how the notion of active citizenship can serve as an analytical concept to review the nature and quality of participatory local democracy in South Africa. It also considers it as a paradigm to inspire new models and practices that are relevant in South Africa’s development context."
This reference guide is part of a series of Black Sash guides for paralegals and other people and organisations who provide advice regarding people’s socio-economic rights. It draws on the Black Sash’s extensive experience of assisting people with difficulties in accessing social assistance – with a view to enriching your understanding of this area of law, the kinds of challenges that can be faced and what can be done about them.
The guide has been designed to help you find answers to some of the questions you may have, by dedicating a separate chapter to each social grant or award. Social assistance laws continue to change, following the government’s commitments and advocacy from the public. We hope to have captured in one publication as much up-to-date information as possible to help people in advice offices advise their clients – towards promoting efficient access to social assistance.
Download the guide (.pdf 2.6Mb)
The Black Sash has endorsed the “Making Local Government Work" action guide, a joint project by SECTION27, the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), The Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI) and Read Hop Phillips.
The guide shows how to “engage government from inside by participating in formal processes, and from outside by going public through complaints, petitions, protest action, the media and the courts”The Black Sash will be using this guide in various training situations with community organisations in our various networks. The manual will be used as a basis for training and support, as well as for developing partnerships.
Click here to download the guide