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By the middle of , 1. Many of these extended family caregivers are ageing and often impoverished grandparents. Children orphaned by AIDS are entitled to non-discrimination; consideration of their best interests, and survival and development rights, including education, health, social security and appropriate alternative care. Caregiving takes a significant toll on the caregiver both physically and emotionally, and may even, in some instances, lead to depression and burnout.


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Caregivers are often expected to be all-enduring martyrs to the cause of caring, whether it be relatively short-term care or long-term care. The Constitution has had a major impact on social security in South Africa. The Constitution provides a base-line framework for the protection of social security rights and other related rights in the sense that it attempts to provide for a minimum standard of living or a safety net for those who are poor and vulnerable in our society.

When considering the purpose of providing access to social security to those in need, the Constitutional Court, 95 remarked that:. The Constitution refers to the right to have access to social security and not purely to the right to social security. The question can therefore be asked whether the term "access to" can be interpreted as qualifying the right to social security.

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Initially, the distinction was understood as an attempt to avoid an interpretation that Sections 26 2 and 27 2 create unqualified obligations on the state to guarantee the direct provision of social goods to everyone. In the Grootboom judgment, 98 the Court remarked that:.

Section 7 2 places positive and negative obligations on the state to realise socioeconomic rights. The duty to respect negative duty requires the state and other relevant actors, on a primary level, to refrain from infringing the right, whilst the positive duty requires the state to enact legislation and policies that will ensure realisation of these rights. The rights in the Bill of Rights may also place a duty on the state to act rationally and in good faith, and require the state to justify its failure to fulfil its obligations.

The Grootboom case, the most comprehensive judgment on social security-related rights, concerned the forcible removal of a large number of children and their families occupying land illegally, without making alternative facilities available to them. The Constitutional Court provided explicit guidance on the principles applicable to the interpretation of the socio-economic right of access to adequate housing.

In a nutshell, the court commented on the indivisibility and interrelation of fundamental rights, t hat socio-economic rights are mutually supportive, and that the right to access to housing cannot be in isolation to other fundamental rights, such as health care, sufficient food and water, and electricity. In the Bill of Rights, the Constitution introduces a constitutional imperative in terms of which the government is compelled to ensure the "progressive realisation" of the right to social security.

It also imposes an obligation on the state to implement appropriate measures in this regard as follows: "the state must take reasonable legislative and other measures, within its available resources, to achieve the progressive realisation of each of this right. In a modern economy, non-state actors have come to occupy central positions in the provision of key services and goods essential for individuals.

Thus, the government alone cannot realise the socio-economic rights enshrined in the Constitution. The Grootboom case emphasised that the Constitution does not require the state to be the sole provider of socio-economic rights. The state's duty differs according to whether people have the ability to realise their rights. In relation to the right of access to adequate housing, the Constitutional Court remarked that:.

The approach taken by the Court in relation to socio-economic rights indicates that for those with the ability to support themselves and their dependants, the state's duty is not that of direct provider, but only of unlocking the system and providing a legislative framework to facilitate access to social security. In a context of pervasive absolute poverty and inequality, consideration of poverty alleviation measures is of critical importance.

However, the successful addressing of poverty in South Africa depends on the ability of policy-makers to construct sustainable and appropriately targeted interventions, which in turn are able to elicit consensus in a country typified by conflicting political and social objectives.


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The current social assistance grants are largely categorical by nature, as they are only available to those who are apart from being poor sufficiently young, sufficiently disabled, or who are not able to work. In the context of the article, the implication is that those whose CD4 count is below and who are not sufficiently disabled are left at the mercy of poverty, as there are no universal benefits or state-financed benefits specifically targeted at people who are excluded from disability grants.


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  6. Furthermore, as pointed out by Goldblatt, there is. The need, therefore, arises for a radical rethinking of social security goals and policies. Social security thinking and policy-making must not be curative in the sense of providing compensation , but also preventative and remedial in nature. Beyond the broad policy reforms needed to extend the reach of the social security system, specific changes that could improve the functioning of the disability grant system are required.

    Support for people with chronic diseases is important, as people with chronic diseases are often pushed farther into the poverty trap. From the above discussion, it is clear that informal social security has developed to such an extent in South Africa that it forms a separate safety net for people excluded and marginalised in terms of the formal social security paradigm. Therefore, informal social security cannot remain conceptually separate from formal social security.

    One way in which this can be addressed is through the incorporation of informal social security into the definition of social security. It is suggested that the definition of social security be broadened to allow for elements that are also associated with informal social security, namely the involvement of state, as well as non-state actors, by recognising that recipients of social security are not just individuals, but also societies, communities and households, and by defining risk in a non-restrictive manner.

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    Furthermore, the Committee of Inquiry must be commended for its examination of the current social security system and for its excellent recommendations regarding transformation of the security system into a comprehensive system that will ensure an adequate minimum standard of living for all, with additional assistance for vulnerable groups, and a range of support services to enable the maximum wellbeing and development of children and their families. Additional improvements are required to the existing grants, with additional measures to reduce the current gaps.

    Most important is the State's commitment to protecting its citizens and improving living conditions for all, in particular, for the most vulnerable members of society. Lastly, the socio-economic conditions of many South Africans are inextricably linked to the high rate of HIV infection. Job creation and social reform are vital. The large.

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    In addition, there is a need for a transformation process in our social security paradigm, the need for social security to champion the needs of vulnerable people and establish structures focusing on community-based activities, such as the improvement of their education, training, and employability. This will enable members of the community to live a sustainable life rather than one of dependency on the state social security system. Age of Majority Act 57 of Children's Act 38 of Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, South African Social Assistance Act 13 of Register of government publications.

    GN in GG of August Register of international agreements. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 13 Dec Register of cases. Register of Internet sources. List of abbreviations. There is a long history in South Africa of children - and especially children living in circumstances of poverty - not being constantly parented by either one or both of their biological parents. The majority of these children live with other adults as caregivers for at least periods of their lives ie living with "social" rather than biological parents.

    This continues to be the case, for both children who face orphanhood, as well as those who do not. Children frequently experience a sequence of different caregivers, and many children are brought up without paternal figures, or live in different households to their biological siblings. The majority of those children not resident with their parent s were resident with relatives. Similarly, the majority of children who are orphaned maternal, paternal, or double are cared for by their relatives.

    Because of the characteristically non-nuclear nature of South African households, in many instances, children remain in their homes upon the death of their parent s , with a continuum of care provided by other adults with whom they are resident at the time Meintjes et al Children 'in Need of Care' However, states party to the Convention are required to recognise that in cases in which people living with HIV asymptomatic or symptomatic have impairments that, in interaction with the environment, result in stigma, discrimination or other barriers to their participation, they can fall under the protection of the Convention.

    States party to the Convention are required to ensure that national legislation complies with this understanding of disability. Other countries have adopted anti-discrimination laws that either explicitly include discrimination on the basis of HIV status or can be interpreted to do so. Similarly, S 9 b defines "disability" as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual, a record of such impairment, or being regarded as having such impairment.

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    The Black Sash is a non-profit human rights organisation committed to the realisation of human rights in South Africa. At its root was the legal segregation of South Africa by race White, Black, Coloured and Indian and, under guise of separate development, the maintenance of White supremacy. Politically, this meant that non-Whites, the large majority, lacked those democratic freedoms enjoyed by Whites. Geographically, it meant that for non-Whites, residency was restricted to the Bantustans homelands or to townships within urban or industrial zones Donnelly and Dunn BJIR The objective of land reform is to redress the injustices caused by the Apartheid policy of dispossession of land; the promotion of a policy of affirmative action within a viable economic development to ensure, amongst other things, access to land with secure rights for residential settlement; as well as access to good agricultural land, which will create new opportunities.

    In , the government adopted GEAR, a macroeconomic policy aimed at strengthening economic development, broadening employment and redistributing income and socioeconomic opportunities in favour of the poor. AsgiSA aims at reducing unemployment and poverty before the year The unemployment rate was Similarly, the fourth quarter saw the deterioration of the labour market rather than recovery with jobs lost. As a result, the number of unemployed increased by and discouraged work seekers increased by In South Africa, two different concepts of unemployment are used routinely: the strict narrow and the expanded broad definition.

    The narrow definition applies a job-search test and includes those individuals who are willing to work and are actively searching for work. The broad definition includes individuals who have not searched for work in a four-week reference period but who have reported being available for work, and have said they would accept work should a suitable job be offered. Discouraged jobseekers are included in the expanded definition of "unemployment" Kingdom and Knight J Afr Econ 9.

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    Therefore, South Africa does not have an official poverty benchmark. It is estimated that just under three million households live on less than R1 a month and that half of the country's households survived on less than R20 a day. For further reading on the subject, see Mubangizi Development Southern Africa See also, Olivier et al Introduction It is critical to acknowledge difficulties households experience in responding to the epidemic.

    Each of these stages brings its own psychological burdens, and influences family functioning. Households try to cope with this through a sustained commitment to funeral insurance. Despite this, households are inadequately insured and funerals impose significant costs on the household, the extended family and the community. In contrast, health insurance is conspicuous by its absence.

    It is disconcerting that financial provisioning for medical treatment and care seem to take second place to coping with the costs of death.

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    This funeral insurance seems to crowd out other savings and insurance provisions. There is also a strong dependency on a single income provider in most of the households. Certain sections in this Act lower the age of majority to 18 and allow those above 12 to access HIV testing and contraceptives with immediate effect, gaining much approval from the Children's Rights Centre. The Act sets out principles relating to the care and protection of children, defines parental responsibilities and rights and makes provision for matters such as children's courts, adoption, child abduction and surrogate motherhood.

    The principles call for the prioritisation of the best interest of the child, the right to the child being able to participate in any matter concerning that child, children living with disability or chronic illness and a child's right of access to court. The Act also clarifies the grey area that currently exists in relation to the age of adulthood, whereby the Age of Majority Act of stipulates the age of 21 as the age of majority, whilst a child is defined as someone under the age of However, someone is neither a child nor an adult between 18 and The Children's Act of clarifies this grey area and brings it in line with S 28 3 of the Constitution.

    The Department of Social Development has explained that now under the Children's Act of , "any person under 18, unless married or emancipated by order of court, is a child and any person over 18 is an adult".

    It added that the Constitution and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child defined a child as any person under the age of 18 years. The Department further said that the government felt that the changed socio-economic and political circumstances in South Africa justify the advancement of the age of majority to 18 years.