A study of State-based social assistance provision and its Influence on the developmental character of the South Afrcan State :: the case of the child support grant
Keywords:Social services, child care services,, social welfare, state intervention, poverty, unemployment,, aids,, social policy, economic policy, South Africa
This thesis aims at exammmg the extent to which state-based social assistance provision, in the
form of Child Support Grant (CSG), influences the character of a developmental state. Social
assistance provision is understood to be part of a developmental state response to the needs of its
I have argued in this thesis that CSG influences the characteristics of a developmental state in as
far as it is available to all needy children who pass the means-test regardless of race. I hold the
view that the developmental approach to social policy should be of great assistance in a country
such as South Africa where there is mass poverty by meeting people's needs in a short to medium
term but also enabling them to depend on themselves in a long term.
The history of the policy context in South Africa and three approaches to social policy have been
examined. These are residual, institutional and normative approaches. My emphasis has been on the
approach that best suits the developmental state. I argue that the developmental state that applies
a normative approach will address issues related to the eradication of poverty, poor economic
opportunities as well as social deprivation and promotes self-reliance. South Africa's
conceptualisation of social policy and social welfare is in keeping with a developmental state. The
problem however, is the implementation of social policy and social welfare provision.
In this thesis I have focused on four research questions and these are:
• Can the CSG illustrate an appropriate social policy intervention of a developmental state in the
context of mass poverty?
• Is South Africa's conceptualisation of social policy and social welfare in keeping with a
• What impact does social assistance provision, in the form of a CSG, have on poor households?
• Can such impact together with other policy interventions contribute to lifting people out of
poverty and building their developmental capacity?
I have used both qualitative and quantitative to examine these questions. My findings show that
social assistance in the form of CSG is consistent with the developmental approach to social
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