The report was launched on Thursday to mark the start of Social Development month.
World Bank senior economist Victoria Monchuk said social assistance transfers can reduce poverty.
“Evidence shows that social assistance transfers have significant positive impacts on reducing poverty and inequality in South Africa and boosting development outcomes.
“In the medium term there is an opportunity for the social assistance system in South Africa to link benef ciaries to other Government services and programs that help advance access to the labour market and earnings.”
The official data shows that South Africa spends more on social assistance than most other countries globally – 3.31% of GDP.
The number of grants paid out by government has increased from 12.02 million in 2006/07 to 17.81 million in 2018/19, excluding the temporary beneficiaries of the special Covid-19 social relief grants.
Monchuk said two main weaknesses were identified in the study.
“Firstly, there is no real functioning social registry with the ability to link all social services together for the citizens in South Africa. However, the National Development Plan proposes the development of a National Integrated Social Protection Information System.
“Secondly, despite an electronic payment system, grant recipients stand in line at different payment points every month and most cash-out their full grant at the beginning of the month.
“Another shortcoming of the system, identified by a number of authors, is the system’s blind spot around working-age adults. While there are several programmes within the social protection system that cover working-ageadults, each of them is limited in terms of their coverage.
“The only regular social grant accessible to working-age adults is the disability grant which is predicated on disability, and unemployment insurance and the Compensation Funds are only accessible to formal sector workers.”
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