There is! We all have a right
to the services government
There must be provides. If we find out more
a better way to about these services and
get things done! get to know our rights, then
we will begin to see positive
changes around us.
Your Guide to Government Services
provided by the Social Cluster
How to use this book
This book was written to tell you about your rights and the organisations
and services that can help you to put your rights into practice.
The Constitution recognises that we have socio-economic rights. Many CITIZENSHIP
South Africans have benefited from these socio-economic rights, by
receiving housing, healthcare, social grants and improved sanitation,
family support, education, fair labour relations, food security, water
But others are still struggling. There is still discrimination and it is still
difficult to access important information. Many struggle to get IDs, HOUSING
and others suffer because of inefficient service delivery.
We need to know that we have socio-economic rights, and which
laws protect these rights. We must also know what to do and who to
approach when our rights are violated or ignored – in other words,
how to seek redress.
Perhaps you are a community leader, teacher, local councillor or just
a concerned member of your community. Whoever you are, this book
is for you.
We all need to know our rights, and the best way to address problems
when they occur. This is one of the ways that we keep our democracy
strong and ensure a better future for ourselves and our children. HEALTH
This book tells you about the laws, services and programmes, and
redress and recourse options available to you to help you make sure
your rights are fulfilled.
The pictures or icons on the right-hand side of this page show you
the sections of the book.
Also look out for the icons below. Each book section will use these
icons to show you when we are talking about the laws, the services
and programmes, or the redress and recourse options: FAIR LABOUR
RIGHTS SERVICES & REDRESS SOCIAL
AND LAWS PROGRAMMES & RECOURSE DEVELOPMENT
Meet our characters
This is Sarah Ndlovu. She is a strong rural
woman, raising seven grandchildren on her
own. One child is disabled. She survives on
money that her favourite son Xolani gives
her from time to time. Sometimes, during the
harvest, she gets work from the farmers.
Xolani is Sarah’s eldest and favourite son. He
has a wife and two children, and a small but
steady income from his job. His main goal in life
is to move into a house of his own. He and his
family rent a shack in someone else’s backyard.
Xolani drinks to get his mind off his troubles,
but when he gets drunk he becomes violent.
This is Patricia, Xolani’s wife. She married
young, and even though she loves her
husband and her children, she sometimes
thinks about how different life could be for
her if she didn’t have a husband who drank
and got violent.
And I’m Nozuko! I’ll be
taking you through this
book, explaining the Acts,
the services and the means
of redress to you.
This is Pete, Xolani and Patricia’s
neighbour. He has children, but
their mother won’t let him see
them. He misses his kids a lot.
Introduction: Know and
Defend Your Rights –p6 What does the Law Say? –p20
Important Services –p21
What Does the Law Say? –p8 Redress and Recourse –p25
Defending Your Rights: Recourse
and Redress –p10
Social Development –p36
What does the Law Say? –p37
Important Services –p36
Redress and Recourse –p50
What does the Law Say? –p27
Important Services –p28
Redress and Recourse –p32
For a full list of
services, see the
index on p 63.
What does the Law Say? –p58 Home Affairs –p15
Important Services –p59
Redress and Recourse –p61 What does the Law Say? –p15
Important Services –p16
Redress and Recourse –p19
Work – p52
What does the Law Say? –p52
Important Services –p53
Redress and Recourse –p57
Basic Needs – p33
What does the Law Say? –p33
Important Services –p34
Redress and Recourse –p35
1. KNOW AND DEFEND
I look after seven grandchildren
on my own. The oldest is fifteen
and the youngest is two. I can’t
get a grant because I don’t have
an ID book. I did apply for one,
but it never arrived. When I went
to find out where it was, they
told me it was lost and I must
apply again. I did that, but now I
don’t have the money to go back
and fetch it!
Sarah has rights, but does not know how to put them into practice.
Sarah needs information, and she needs support.
Like all South Africans, Sarah has the following
• The right to be a citizen of this country and enjoy equally all the
government services for South African citizens
• The right to be given reasons for any decisions taken by AND LAWS
• The right to have access to information that concerns you
• The right of access to adequate housing
• The right of access to healthcare services, including
• The right of access to enough food and water
• The right to social services, including social assistance (grants)
• The right to free emergency medical treatment
• The right to fair labour practices
• The right to education.
Sarah needs to know that she has rights and that there are
organisations set up to help her exercise those rights.
• According to the Social Assistance Act, she may have the
right to social assistance (grants) (page 36)
• According to the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act,
she has the right to fair and reasonable treatment by government
• According to the Promotion of Access to Information Act,
she has the right to any information that directly affects her rights
One of the ways Sarah can access information and government services is by
going to the nearest Thusong Centre.
Hello. I need
information and help.
I applied for an ID but
have been waiting six
months. They say I must
apply again. But I can’t
afford to keep going
back to Home Affairs.
You’ve come to the right place. At the Thusong
Centre you can get access to government
services and information. I’m a Government
Communication Officer. I work here, and my
job is to give you clear, accurate information.
What are Thusong Centres?
Thusong Centres or Multipurpose Community Centres (MPCC) are one-stop
centres where government offers services and information about government
programmes to local communities. They are spread throughout the country.
The Thusong Centre is a point of two-way communication between government
and citizens, where people can share their views on government programmes,
policies and activities and where citizens can tell government about their needs SERVICES &
for services. PROGRAMMES
• Government services, like the issuing and distribution of identity documents, pensions,
health information, government information and passports. It also operates as a library and
• Computer training and facilities, Internet use and other online services.
• Other kinds of services and information, like community banking, craft shops, women’s clubs,
and food production programmes.
To ﬁnd out where your nearest Thusong Centre is, call 1020 toll-free
What Does the Law Say?
Promotion of Access to Information Act
Access to information is one of our human rights. It is guaranteed in our
Constitution and in the Promotion of Access to Information Act (2000). This
Act is sometimes known as PAIA. The Act says:
• All government departments and organisations must make information
available to individuals and organisations.
• Private companies must make information available to individuals and
organisations if the information is needed to help them exercise any of their socio-economic
• All public bodies must appoint an information ofﬁcer whose job is to help members of the
public get the information they need.
There’s my neighbour, Mr Maduna. He has been
living in this house for twenty years, but now he
might have to move because the municipality has
development plans for the area.
But he should find more information on the
development. It’s his right to know whether he will be
affected and, if so, what compensation he will get.
According to the Promotion of Access to Information Act, the relevant government departments
have to provide the information this person requires, because it relates to his constitutional
rights. We have the right to ask for any information that directly affects our rights, from a
government body or private company, and they must give it to us.
The Promotion of Administrative Justice Act
Government departments have to act fairly,
Now, you say that you have been
reasonably and without undue delay. They have
waiting six months for an ID. This kind
to inform you of decisions they take before they
of delay is unacceptable, and against
take them – if the decisions relate to your socio-
the law, according to the Promotion of
economic rights. There are steps you can take when a
Administrative Justice Act.
government department does not do what it should!
The Promotion of Administrative Justice Act
The Promotion of Administrative Justice Act is sometimes known as PAJA
It was passed to make sure that government acts fairly whenever it takes decisions that affect
you. It gives you the right to ask for written reasons for decisions made, and provides a way for
you to appeal for a re-consideration of a decision.
For any decision made by government that directly affects you, you can expect to be:
• Told what decision is being planned before it is taken
• Allowed to tell your side of the story before a decision is made
• Told what the decision is, and of your right to an internal appeal or review by court
• Told that you have the right to ask for reasons
• Given written reasons for the decisions
• Able to challenge the decision in court.
If SASSA thinks the decision If, after he has presented his
might go against Mr Jakavula, case in person or in writing,
they must write and tell him SASSA still decides not to
Mr Jakavula applies to the this, and give him a chance to award the grant, Mr Jakavula
SA Social Security Agency present his case before a final can ask for written reasons
(SASSA) for a disability grant. decision is made. for their decision.
SASSA must respond, in writing,
within 90 days of receiving the
written request. They must explain Mr Jakavula can now make an internal appeal, or ask a
that there is an internal appeal court to review the decision. If the court agrees with Mr
process that Mr Jakavula can follow. Jakavula, it will order SASSA to award the grant.
This process applies to many decisions that government ofﬁcials may take that affect you. The
same procedure must be followed when you apply for:
• A ﬁrst-time homeowner’s subsidy
• A work or permanent residence permit
• Refugee or asylum seeker status
• Certain other situations.
To ﬁnd out more about SASSA, turn to page 40
Defending Your Rights:
Recourse and Redress
There are other ways! When we
challenge a decision that we feel is
wrong, it is called seeking redress.
So you see, Mrs Ndlovu, you don’t have to
It is our right as citizens of a
accept a decision that negatively affects your
democratic country to seek redress
rights. You can challenge the decision. PAJA
when things go wrong.
shows us one way to do it.
Seeking redress means trying to put right what is wrong – to get what is legally yours.
It is our right and our responsibility to seek redress when our rights are abused. Our
government has made it clear that it wishes to be held accountable. To help us do just that, it
has made many avenues available through which we can seek redress.
Government ofﬁcials don’t always do what they are supposed to do. We don’t have to accept
poor service, unnecessary delays or rudeness. We also do not have to accept decisions that
have a negative impact on any of our human rights (see page 6).
We need to choose the means of redress that suits the scale and the nature of the problem.
For instance, it is not always appropriate to take the matter to court. A letter or a meeting with
the person’s superior may be all you need to sort out the problem.
The next day...
I am not happy
with the way your
colleague treated me
Thank you for
at the Department
bringing this to
last week. I do not
my attention. I
accept his advice
will do my best
that I re-apply
to sort out the
for my ID. This is
problem, so that
you don’t have
to the Promotion
For information on any government service or institution, phone 1020 toll-free
Means of redress
Remember you can defend your rights, but do it positively by going to the people who are there
to help you and following the correct procedures.
First, try to sort out the problem yourself
This should always be our ﬁrst option when seeking redress. Many problems can be solved
when we state our case reasonably and calmly, and are prepared to listen. Every government
department has a Communication Ofﬁcer. Explain your problem to the Communication Ofﬁcer,
and ask who to contact to lay a formal complaint.
You can deal with your problem verbally or in writing.
Ask to see the person’s superior at work. Explain your
position clearly and calmly. Listen to the response.Try to
sort out the problem through conversation. If an agreement
is made, make sure that dates and times are speciﬁed by
which certain things will be done. I would like to complain
about the service I
You can also write a letter to the person’s superior at work. Your letter
should be factual and to the point. State what happened, the date of
the incident, and what you would like done about it. Keep a copy of the
letter. Make sure you address it to the correct person and the correct
postal address. If necessary, send a copy to another ﬁgure of authority
in the Department, indicating on the letter that you have sent a copy to
someone else. This helps to ensure that something is done about it.
IF THESE STEPS DO NOT HELP, YOU MAY TAKE YOUR COMPLAINT
TO ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ORGANISATIONS:
The Public Protector
This institution was set up to investigate wrongful conduct by
government, whether at national, provincial or local level. This
includes all government employees, such as police ofﬁcers, pension
payout clerks, electoral ofﬁcers, staff of government hospitals and
bodies that perform public functions, such as Telkom, Eskom and
You can complain to the Public Protector if you think any such person
• Corrupt in using public money.
• Abusing their powers. Contact Details:
Cases where the Public Protector is not authorised to investigate are: Private Bag X677
• Judgements of judges and magistrates; Pretoria, 0001
• abuse by individuals or private companies; and
• abuse by doctors or lawyers who are not employed by the Tel: (012) 366-7000
State. Fax: (012) 366-7047
Toll-free: 0800 112040
The South African Human Rights Commission
The South African Human Rights Commission is an independent
institution set up to support constitutional democracy. It acts as a
watchdog, monitoring government and private bodies.
• It investigates human rights violations.
• It helps people to ﬁnd solutions to human rights problems.
• It carries out research and education on human rights. Contact Details:
Tel: (011) 484-8300
Fax: (011) 484-1360
The Commission on Gender Equality
This is another institution set up to support constitutional
democracy. If your rights are violated because of your gender (i.e.
because of the fact that you’re a woman or a man), then you have
a gender-related human rights complaint, and this organisation
can help you.
The Commission’s functions are to:
• Investigate gender-related issues, either on its own, or as
the result of a complaint;
• conduct research and education on gender issues; and
PO Box 32175,
• make recommendations on government policies affecting
Tel: (011) 403-7182
Fax: (011) 403-7188
IDASA is an organisation that strengthens democracy by encourag-
ing the participation of citizens, protecting democratic institutions and
promoting social justice.
They run a number of programmes. Two programmes that may be of
• The Community and Citizen Empowerment Programme,
which encourages communities and citizens to inﬂuence
social and political processes.
• The Local Government Centre, which seeks to strengthen PO Box 56950,
municipalities and their communities in order to create effective
and accountable local governance and service delivery.
Tel: (012) 392-0500
Fax: (012) 320-2414/5
The Open Democracy Advice Centre (ODAC)
ODAC’s mission is to promote an open and transparent
democracy; to foster a culture of corporate and government
accountability and transparency; and to help people in South Africa
realise their rights. They are mainly active in ﬁghting corruption and Contact Details:
promoting access to information.
Helpline: 0800 525352
ODAC has a helpline that provides free, independent and 0800 LALELA
conﬁdential advice to people who have concerns about corruption
PO Box 1739,
or the withholding of vital information. If you are worried about
Cape Town, 8001
corruption in your workplace, or you have not been given
information you have the right to, use this helpline to get the advice
Tel: (021) 467-5673
you need. Fax: (021) 461-2814
The Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD)
The ICD is a government department that investigates
complaints of brutality, criminality and misconduct
against members of the South African Police Service
(SAPS), and the Municipal Police Service (MPS). It
investigates the alleged misconduct and criminality of Contact Details:
SAPS members, but does so independently of SAPS.
Private Bag X941,
You can also complain to your Member of
the National or Provincial Parliament. Tel: (012) 392-0400
For more information on Parliament, contact Fax: (012) 320-3116
(021) 403-2911; Fax: (021) 403-3817.
Going to court
Your last resort is to take the relevant department or organisation to court.
Magistrate’s Courts hear cases that have to do with equality, access to information and
unreasonable or delayed action from government in delivery of services. Some of these cases
may also be heard in the High Court.
If the Court ﬁnds that the problem arose because of government inaction or inefﬁciency, it can
order the relevant department to develop a plan of action, implement it, and report regularly to
the court on its progress.
There are also other courts that deal with speciﬁc areas of interest, e.g. Labour Courts hear
labour cases, Land Claims Court hear land cases and the Water Tribunal hears cases on water
resources and services.
If the Constitutional Court ﬁnds that the government is violating your rights as the result of an
Act which is unconstitutional, it can have the Act or section of the Act declared invalid.
If you decide to go the way of court action, seek the help of a Legal Resource Centre, Legal Aid
or university law clinic.
Have you heard about Batho Pele ?
Thank you for giving me so
much useful information.
Tell me, do you have this Access is a principle of Batho Pele, and if people
information in Setswana? My are going to have equal access to information and
neighbours would find this services then they need to be helped in a language
information really helpful in they understand. Now, let me find you something
their own language. in Setswana.
Batho Pele is a set of principles that guides all government employees in their work with
Perhaps you are a government employee, or perhaps you know someone who is.
These are the principles by which they work:
Consultation: People should be consulted about the level and quality of public services they
receive and wherever possible be given a choice.
Service standards: People should be told what level and quality of public services they will
receive, so that they know what to expect.
Access: All citizens should have equal access to the services to which they are entitled.
Courtesy: All people should be treated with courtesy and consideration.
Information: People should be given full, accurate information about the services they receive.
Openness and transparency: People should be told how government departments are run,
how much they cost, and who is in charge.
Redress: If a promised standard of service is not delivered, people should be offered an
apology, an explanation and a speedy remedy. When complaints are made, people should
receive a sympathetic, positive response.
Value for money: Public services should be provided economically and efﬁciently.
2. HOME AFFAIRS
Life is a journey, and every major step in
that journey needs to be officially recorded. When you get married,
When we are born, our births need to be your marriage needs to
registered and when we turn 16 we need be officially recognised
to get an identity book (ID). and registered.
Finally, when you die,
your death needs to be
recognised and recorded.
For this, you need a
What Does the Law Say?
Births and Deaths Registration Act
According to this Act, the birth of every child born alive must be reported
to the State within thirty days of the birth. A ﬁrst name and surname must be
given to the child before a birth certiﬁcate will be issued. Deaths, too, need to
be registered. Only a doctor can issue a death certiﬁcate. RIGHTS
In terms of the Act, the following are against the law: AND LAWS
• Failing to inform the State of any birth or death
• Giving false information to the State about a birth or death
• Losing, destroying or damaging birth certiﬁcates
• Counterfeiting any document that has anything to do with births or deaths
• Giving false information about birth
• Charging or receiving fees that are higher than the legal amount, or
• Unreasonably withholding any certiﬁcate or document related to births or deaths.
The Identiﬁcation Act deﬁnes what is needed for an Identity Document
(ID) to be issued, and what such a document should contain. See page
17 for more information. In terms of the Act, the following are against
• Giving false information when applying for an ID
• Presenting someone else’s ID as your own
• Destroying, damaging or changing any part of an ID
• Allowing your ID to be used for any unlawful purpose
• Using your old ID after a new one has been issued to you.
South African Citizenship Act
The Act protects the right to citizenship of those who were born in South Africa and who have at
least one parent who is South African. This right is not given to those who were born in South
Africa, but whose parents were illegally in the country. The Citizenship Act does allow a person to
apply for citizenship through a process of naturalisation.
To become a South African citizen, you must:
• Have been living in South Africa for not less than a year before applying, and for not less than
four years for the eight-year period prior to applying
• Intend to continue living in the country
• Be able to speak any of the ofﬁcial languages
• Be of a good moral character.
Anyone who acquires the citizenship of another country can no longer be a South African citizen,
unless they apply for special permission from the Minister of Home Affairs.
Applying for citizenship
I come from Uganda. PROGRAMMES
I’ve been living in
South Africa for five
years and would like Yes, if you have had a permanent
to settle here. Can residence permit for the full ﬁve years.
I become a South After ﬁve years of living as a permanent
African citizen? resident, you are eligible for citizenship
I’m foreign, but
married to a South Yes, you qualify for citizenship two
African. Can I years after receiving your permanent
become a citizen? residence permit, issued at the time
of your marriage.
My child has a
permanent residence Yes, anyone under the age of 21
permit. Can she who has permanent residence
become a South status automatically qualiﬁes for
African citizen? citizenship.
Getting your ID
To get your ID book, visit your nearest Home Affairs Ofﬁce. You will need to bring:
• A certiﬁed copy of your birth certiﬁcate
• Two ID-sized, black-and-white photographs
• A copy of your marriage certiﬁcate if you are married.
After applying, you should not have to wait more than two months to receive your ID book. Keep
it in a safe place. It is essential for life in South Africa. Without an ID, you will not be able to open
a bank account, register to vote, receive social assistance (grants), get a driver’s licence or get a
job. From time to time, mistakes appear on IDs. Common errors are:
• Incorrect name or surname • Incorrect address
• Wrong photograph • Incorrect birth date or gender
You can apply to have these details corrected at any Home Affairs ofﬁce.
No more expensive taxi fare
for me! Now I can use the Do you live in a rural
Home Affairs Mobile Unit area far away from the
to get my ID and other nearest Home Affairs
important documents from ofﬁce? Look out for the
the Department. Home Affairs Mobile
Unit. These units can
issue birth and death
certiﬁcates on the spot.
You can also collect your
ID once it is ready.
DID YOU KNOW?
The Department of
Labour also has mobile
units (turn to page 56).
Registering a birth
Children born in South Africa must be registered with the Department of Home Affairs within
30 days of the birth. If either parent is unable to register the child, they can ask someone to
do it for them, but they must supply that person with a written mandate, explaining why they
cannot do it themselves.
Once the child is registered, an abridged birth certiﬁcate is given to you on
the same day. Re-issue of the abridged birth certiﬁcate costs R10. If you
need to order a full, unabridged birth certiﬁcate, it will cost R45.
Children of non–South African citizens are issued with a
full, unabridged birth certiﬁcate free of charge on the day of
registering the birth.
If any child does
Registration later than thirty days after not have a birth
birth, but earlier than one year certificate, it is
Simply ﬁll in the relevant form at the possible to get one at
Department of Home Affairs, and give any stage. However,
reasons why the registration was not done more documents will
within the thirty-day period. be required to support
Registration after one year but before
• Fill in the relevant form and give written reasons why the
registration was not done within the thirty-day period.
• Supply an afﬁdavit by the parents or a close relative who must be
at least ten years older than the child, conﬁrming the identity of
the child. An afﬁdavit is a sworn statement, signed in the presence
of a Commissioner of Oaths (e.g. a lawyer).
• Supply as much documentation as possible to support the identity of the child, including:
♦ a stamped certiﬁcate from the institution where the child was born;
♦ conﬁrmation of the child’s personal details from the ﬁrst school attended by the child;
♦ the child’s baptismal certiﬁcate;
♦ a social worker’s report, in the case of abandoned children;
♦ school reports; and
♦ any other documents that will support the child’s identity.
Registration after ﬁfteen years
• Fill in the relevant form, as well as another, requesting an ID book.
• Explain in writing why the birth was not registered earlier.
• Supply as much of the same documentation as possible as is required for registration after
one year and before ﬁfteen years.
Registering a death
When a person dies, the following steps must be taken:
1 A doctor must examine the body and ﬁll in a form called the Certiﬁcate of Cause of
Death (death certiﬁcate).
2 The doctor gives this documentation to the closest relative of the deceased.
3 The relative takes this documentation to an undertaker to make funeral arrangements.
4 If the undertaker is authorised, he then issues a burial order.
5 The funeral undertaker then submits the completed form to the Department of Home
Affairs and they will issue a death certiﬁcate for the relative of the deceased.
Some undertakers are not authorised to receive notices of death, complete death registers and
issue burial orders. In this case, the relative must take the partially completed form to the nearest
Home Affairs ofﬁce or, if there is none, to the nearest police station, to have the form completed
and to receive a burial order and death certiﬁcate.
Once the death is registered at the Department of Home
Affairs, an abridged death certiﬁcate is given on the same
day. Re-issue of the abridged death certiﬁcate costs R10.
A full, unabridged death certiﬁcate, if required, may be
requested, at a cost of R45.
Registering a marriage
All marriages in South Africa must be registered.
Two witnesses must be present. Most are done
automatically by the presiding ofﬁcer, whether in a
church or registration ofﬁce. Customary marriages
can also be registered at the Department of
Home Affairs. This only requires the consent of
one spouse and can be done even after one of
the spouses has died. Registering a customary
marriage gives both partners equal status in
deciding what to do with property.
Recourse and redress
Use the anti-corruption hotline 0800 701 701 to report the illegal use of
ID documents, or any other kind of identity fraud.
Contact the Department of Home Affairs
Province Postal Address Telephone Number Fax Number
Eastern Cape Private Bag X6030, Tel: (041) 404-8301 Fax: (041) 487-3354
Free State Private Bag X20531 Tel: (051) 403-9100 Fax: (051) 430-8814
Gauteng Private Bag X114, Tel: (011) 476-2382 Fax: (011) 476-2402
KwaZulu-Natal Private Bag X09, Tel: (031) 564-6411 Fax: (031) 564-7126
Limpopo Private Bag X9666, Tel: (015) 297-5803/04 Fax: (015) 297-6029
Mpumalanga Private Bag X11264, Tel: (013) 753-9500 Fax: (013) 753-3501
Northern Cape Private Bag X5009, Tel: (053) 807-6700 Fax: (053) 807-6719
North West Private Bag X7, Tel: (018) 384-5443 Fax: (018) 397-9903
Western Cape Private Bag X9031, Tel: (021) 426-1301 Fax: (021) 426-1339
CAPE TOWN, 8000
Did you know?
Toll-free numbers are only free from a landline?
For information on any government service or institution, phone 1020 toll-free
Xolani should not
despair, because there
are a number of housing
subsidies for people who
are struggling financially.
I’m Xolani. I have always dreamed of having my
own house, where Patricia and I would grow old.
But every month is a struggle just to get by. I
worry that I’ll never be able to afford a house.
What Does the Law Say?
National Housing Act and the Housing Code
According to the National Housing Code, brought about by the
Housing Act of 1997, housing provision in South Africa must be based
on certain values:
Affordable: Housing must be affordable. AND LAWS
Habitable: Houses must be big enough for people to live in, and must be
protected from environmental threats.
Access: Housing must be in areas with access to
transport, schools and other amenities.
Services: Housing must have access to safe
water, sanitation, fuel, refuse disposal,
drainage and emergency services.
Security of tenure: Certain people may be
evicted only if provision has been made for
alternative accommodation. Special consideration
must be given to the tenure rights of people who
have lived in a place for more than ten years,
people who are older than 60, the disabled and
women and children.
• You must have a total household income of less than R3 500 per month.
• You must be a South African citizen or permanent resident aged 21 or
• You must be married or live with a partner, or be unmarried with one or
more dependants. This restriction does not apply to the disabled.)
• Neither you nor your partner may have received a subsidy before. (This does not apply to
people who received land under apartheid, nor does it apply to people who need relocation
assistance, to people with disabilities or to those who receive institutional subsidies.)
• Neither you nor your partner may own or have owned property in South Africa. (This
restriction does not apply to the disabled.)
• You cannot apply for a housing subsidy if you have already received a grant from the
Department of Land Affairs.
To apply for a housing subsidy, or any housing-related service, ask for the application forms from:
• Your local or district municipality;
• The Housing Department in your area; and
• Your Provincial Department of Local Government and Housing.
You will need
• A South African applicant and his or her partner will need certiﬁed copies of their bar-coded
• identity documents and the birth certiﬁcates of their ﬁnancial dependants.
• Foreigners will need a certiﬁed copy of their Permanent Residency Permit, as well as the
permits of their partners and dependants.
• All applicants will need a certiﬁed copy of their most recent payslip, less than six months old.
• Married couples need to show a certiﬁed copy of their marriage certiﬁcate.
• Divorced people with ﬁnancial dependants must send a certiﬁed copy of their divorce order.
• Unmarried couples must show an afﬁdavit as proof that they live together as a couple.
• The disabled must bring a medical certiﬁcate from a registered medical doctor.
There are many housing programmes to help South Africans with all sorts of matters
related to housing. Perhaps one of these can be useful to you, or someone you know.
I can’t afford my mortgage
repayments any more. Can
you help me? Relocation assistance is for people who can
no longer afford to pay the mortgage on their
home loan. The grant helps them to relocate to
First, the programme will help the person work
out what he or she can afford. Then the person
Yes.The first thing to do will be helped to buy an affordable property with
is to find accommodation a loan, if one is needed.
that you can afford.
Individual Housing Subsidy
An Individual Housing Subsidy may be used to buy land, provide services such as water and
sanitation, buy the materials needed for building a house, or buy a house that is not part of an
existing housing subsidy project.
Beneﬁciaries of the subsidy will have to contribute a certain amount of their own money to the
cost of the house. This contribution can come out of their savings or they can borrow money from
an approved ﬁnancial institution.
The People’s Housing Process
The People’s Housing Process is a programme that helps people to build their own
houses, thereby saving on labour costs, and enabling the homeowner to decide on the
design and construction of the house.
People on the programme need to apply for a loan through a support organisation, which
also helps them with the technical aspects of building a house. Contact the Department of
Housing (see page 26) for more information on ﬁnding a support organisation. You can apply
for this subsidy on top of any of the other subsidies mentioned here.
However, much of the work will be done by you, the homeowner!
Now that you know you can apply for
a subsidy, you need to decide which
subsidy suits you the best.
If you decide on the People’s Housing
Process, you will save a lot of money
by buying your own materials and
building your house yourself.
Project-Linked Housing Subsidy
This subsidy is linked to housing developments built
by developers in close cooperation with both the local
municipality and the ﬁnal homeowners. The subsidy
enables individuals to buy a completed ﬂat or house as
part of an approved project-linked housing development.
The maximum subsidy is R31 929 for beneﬁciaries
earning under R1 500 per month. The subsidy is reduced
as the income rises, with a maximum income of R3 500.
These amounts are reviewed annually on April 1.
Hey, Mr Maduna, have I never knew there
you solved your housing was so much help for
problem? homeowners – and also
Yes, I’m getting relocation
assistance. Government is
helping me to find a home I
This subsidy is made available to institutions such
as a private company. The Department of Housing
gives the subsidy to the institution, which owns Your own house is
the property for at least four years. After that, the your most important
person who lives in the home becomes the owner. investment.
The subsidy consists of one standard amount per
applicant for residence. Applicants must earn less
than R3 500 per month.
National Department of Housing 0800 1 HOUSE / 0800 146873
I longed for a house of my own for years.
Then I got a subsidy from the Housing
Department to pay for the cost of building
materials. I decided to get involved. Now I
have learned valuable construction skills.
A Rural Subsidy may be used by rural or urban people to cover the costs of any housing-
related expenses agreed to by the Provincial Housing Department.
The subsidy can only be accessed on a project basis. There is however no minimum or
maximum limit to the number of people involved in the project. Applicants must have a
housing development plan.
Discount Beneﬁt Scheme
Many people live in ﬂats built by the previous government, paying a monthly rent. With the
help of the Discount Beneﬁt Scheme, they can now get a loan to buy the ﬂat at a discount
price. Contact the Department of Home Affairs (see page 26) to ﬁnd out how you can own the
government ﬂat you live in.
This subsidy is made available to developers for redeveloping hostels.
Conditions for receiving the subsidy:
• A Local Negotiating Group (LNG) must be involved in and support the redevelopment.
• The developer must provide a concrete proposal for a post-development management plan for
• The developer must submit a plan showing how he or she will accommodate people displaced
by the redevelopment, who will not be seeking accommodation in the converted building.
• The redevelopment costs must be in line with the maximum subsidy for which the residents
Housing Customer Service Hotline 0800 203 271
The Consolidated Housing Subsidy
I was given a plot of land over twenty years ago, but I couldn’t
afford to do anything with it. Thanks to the Consolidated Housing
Subsidy I can get the building materials I need.
Under the apartheid government, some areas were divided into smaller pieces of land that were
given basic services such as water, electricity and a sewerage system. These plots of land were
sold to people under a housing subsidy scheme.
The Consolidated Housing Subsidy is for people who own such plots of land and want
to build houses. It is paid out to groups, who must be represented by a community-based
Recourse and redress
If there are defects in a State-subsidised house, built after March 1994, it
can be ﬁxed. Contact your local municipality to ﬁnd out more.
Houses that were built after March 2002 are protected by The Housing
Consumer Protection Measures Act. This means that you can lodge your
complaints with the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC).
The Act says that the builder of the home must ﬁx structural defects that RECOURSE
develop in the ﬁrst ﬁve years. & REDRESS
How do you lodge a complaint with the NHBRC?
Before you lodge a complaint with the NHBRC, you should:
• Notify the builder in writing within the ﬁve-year period and keep a copy of the letter of
complaint and proof of the date it was sent;
• allow the builder access to your house so that he can ﬁx the defect; and
• make sure you pay the builder what you agreed to.
If the builder does not respond to the complaint, or if a dispute arises between you and
the builder, you may lodge a complaint with the NHBRC. You will need:
• Proof of the date you occupied the house;
• proof that you told the builder in writing about the problems; and
• a list of the problems.
Housing Fraud line 0800 204 401
The National Home Builders Built Environment Support Group
Registration Council They empower communities to address their
Toll-free: 0800 200 824 housing needs.
Fraud Hotline: 0800 203 698 Tel: (033) 394-4980
Tel: (011) 317-0000 Fax: (033) 394-4979
Fax: (011) 317-0105
Housing Consumer Protection Trust The Development Action Group (DAG)
Provides free legal advice to low-income Tel: (021) 448-7886
housing consumers. Fax: (021) 447-1987
Toll-free: 0800 111 663
Contact the Department of Housing
Province Postal Address Telephone Number Fax Number
Eastern Cape Housing, Local Gvt. and Tel: (040) 609-5656 Fax: (040) 639-2163
Traditional Affairs, Private
Bag X0035, BISHO, 5605
Free State Local Gvt & Housing, Tel: (051) 405-5719 Fax: (051) 403-3650
PO Box 211,
Gauteng Private Bag X644, Tel: (011) 355-4902 Fax: (011) 355-4137
KwaZulu-Natal Housing, Private Tel: (033) 845-2020 Fax: (033) 845-2085
Limpopo Local Gvt & Housing, Tel: (015) 295-6851 Fax: (015) 295-4190
Private Bag X9485,
Mpumalanga Housing and Land, Ad- Tel: (013) 766-6229 Fax: (013) 766-8430
ministration, Private Bag
Northern Cape Housing and Local Gvt, Tel: (053) 830-9426 Fax: (053) 831-2904
Private Bag X5005,
North West Local Gvt and Housing Tel: (018) 387-3747 Fax: (018) 387-3745
Private Bag X2099
Western Cape Local Gvt and Housing Tel: (021) 483-5200 Fax: (021) 483-8789
Private Bag X9083
CAPE TOWN, 8000
Did you know?
Toll-free numbers are only free from a landline?
When it comes to health, we
have responsibilities and Xolani’s wife Patricia has asthma.
we have rights.
Asthma can be
I do my best to
keep this condition
under control. But
sometimes it gets
bad, and I need
Primary healthcare includes:
• Health education;
• promotion of adequate nutrition;
• adequate supply of clean water and sanitation;
• maternal and child healthcare;
• immunisation against major infectious diseases;
• prevention and control of locally endemic diseases;
• effective treatment of common diseases and
• provision of essential drugs. Our government is bound by law to
provide primary healthcare.
What Does the Law Say?
National Health Act
The National Health Act is the most important law concerning our right
to healthcare. Some of the aims of the National Health Act are to:
• Give all people the best possible health service with the available RIGHTS AND
• Make effective health service available fairly and efﬁciently.
• Educate people about their health rights and encourage community
participation in health service delivery.
The National Health Act says that everyone has the right to emergency treatment
from any hospital – public or private – whether the person can afford to pay or not.
According to the law no hospital may turn away an emergency patient.
For national safety, the Act also stipulates that anyone who contracts an infectious
disease must go to a doctor. The State is obliged to make arrangements for that
person to be treated – either at a hospital or elsewhere.
Mental Health Information Helpline 0800 567 567
The National Health Act says that,
as a pregnant woman, I can get free
medical treatment at the clinics
and community health centres
also bound by the
funded by the State.
National Health Act
to provide effective
My children can also get free medical
ways to combat
treatment below the age of six. No one
disease. There are
can force us to pay – as long as we do
not belong to a medical aid scheme.
HIV, TB, cholera,
measles and polio.
There are a number of services available for the prevention of HIV
transmission. These include the following:
• People are mobilised to get involved in the ﬁght against HIV/AIDS.
• Good-quality male and female condoms are distributed throughout the SERVICES &
• Nevirapine and anti-retrovirals (ARVs) are given to pregnant mothers to
prevent mother-to-child transmission.
• Survivors of sexual assault are given ARVs to prevent infection.
There is also a broad range of services available to people living with AIDS
(PLWAs), including home-based and community-based care. These services
include the following:
• There are various treatment options, including proper diagnosis, treatment
of opportunistic infections (especially TB and sexually transmitted Abstain
infections); as well as ARVs for HIV management.
• Counselling and support services are provided, including trauma and
therapeutic counselling and counselling that deals with issues of stigma
and discrimination. Support groups are established and information-
sharing is promoted. PLWAs are also encouraged to maintain family
• PLWAs are given food parcels and supplements, particularly special Be faithful
products that ensure a high-protein diet.
• Qualifying families and caregivers are linked to poverty-alleviation
programmes and income-generation projects.
• Information is provided to enhance access to all government services.
AIDS HELPLINE: 0800 012 322
Cough, cough! I don’t know what’s
Sounds like it could be TB. You should
wrong with me. I’ve been coughing for
have it checked out, because persistent
three weeks, I’m short of breath and
cough, shortness of breath and night
tired, and at night I sweat a lot!
sweats are all symptoms of TB!
TB is spread through germs that live in the saliva. When an infected person sneezes or coughs,
tiny droplets enter the lungs of anyone nearby. Overcrowding therefore plays a part in the spread
TB can be successfully treated if the patient sticks faithfully to the medication for the entire period
No! You must
Can’t I stop for the full period.
my treatment, If you don’t, the
since I’m feeling TB will come back
better? in a stronger, more
Measles and Polio
Both of these diseases are effectively prevented by
vaccinations. Every baby in South Africa must receive
vaccinations for measles and polio. These vaccinations
are offered at all government clinics at no cost.
Last month we had a
flood. Water from the Your biggest
river washed away concern should
some of our homes! be preventing
often breaks out
where dirty water
enters our homes
it is polluted by
The ﬁrst sign of
cholera is watery
diarrhoea in a
person older than
ﬁve years. The most
is to rehydrate
the person with
Cholera is caused by contaminated water, an electrolyte
and spreads quickly where people do not solution.
thoroughly wash hands and food.
The electrolyte solution:
1 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons sugar
4 cups water
mixture to the person in small sips Wash all food with water puriﬁed as follows:
throughout the day and night. Add 1 teaspoon bleach to 20 litres of water;
let it stand overnight. Do not allow sick
This mixture saves lives! persons to touch food to be eaten by others.
Cholera is simple to treat and it is easy to prevent it from spreading. The best defence is
thorough cleanliness. If cholera is suspected, contact a health worker immediately, so that
steps can be taken to prevent a widespread outbreak.
My wife and I Did you know that
will be visiting the lowveld area
relatives in of Mpumalanga
Mpumalanga is a high-risk area
later this month, for malaria? Other
and are really malaria areas are
looking forward Northern Province
to the trip. and the north-
eastern parts of
Malaria is carried by mosquitoes. Make
Anyone visiting these areas for the ﬁrst time, or sure to use mosquito nets at night, avoid
after a long absence, should take anti-malaria areas with stagnant water and wear long
tablets six weeks before entering the area. sleeves, especially at night.
Every year, malaria kills thousands of people, especially children under ﬁve. Children under ﬁve
and pregnant women need to be careful. The government’s anti-malaria programme consists of
spraying homes with insecticide.
Getting an abortion
The Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act gives every woman the freedom to choose to have
an early, safe and legal termination (ending) of pregnancy.
This law makes it easier for you to have an abortion in your ﬁrst twelve weeks of pregnancy.
Special justiﬁcation is needed to have an abortion from the thirteenth to the twentieth week, such
as the pregnancy being a threat to the health of the mother, or the pregnancy being the result of
rape. Termination of pregnancy after the twentieth week is only allowed in very rare circumstances.
• Only the consent of the woman wanting the abortion is needed.
• It is the duty of the State to provide counselling before and after the abortion.
• Children under the age of eighteen should consult with parents, family and friends before
going ahead with an abortion. However, they cannot be denied their right to end their
Recourse and redress
The National Health Act says that every public hospital or clinic must
have clear procedures for people to follow if they wish to complain. If you
are not sure what the procedures are, ask at the hospital. They are bound
by law to explain the procedure to you. You can also approach the Health REDRESS
Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA). & RECOURSE
The HPCSA investigates and acts on complaints against health
professionals, whether private or State-employed. Because it is free Contact Details:
of charge and accessible, you should approach the HPCSA if you
have a legitimate complaint. PO Box 205
The complaint must be in writing and must give the following details:
1. Your name and the name of the person the complaint is Tel: (012) 338-9300
against. Fax: (012) 328-5120
2. The date and place of the incident
3. How the incident happened.
4. The history of the complaint
Contact the Department of Health
Province Postal Address Telephone Number Fax Number
Eastern Cape Private Bag X0038, Tel: 0800 032 364 Fax: (040) 609-3892
Free State PO Box 227, Tel: 0800 535 554 Fax: (051) 408-1566
Gauteng Private Bag X399, Tel: (011) 407-6111 Fax: (011) 339-2866
KwaZulu-Natal Private Bag X9051, Tel: (033) 395-2009 Fax: (033) 345-0792
Limpopo Private Bag X9483, Tel: 0800 919 191 Fax: (015) 295-3840
Mpumalanga Private Bag X11291, Tel: 0800 204 098 Fax: (013) 766-2494
Northern Cape Private Bag X5016, Tel: (053) 387-5778 Fax: (053) 839-8215
North West Private Bag X65, Tel: (018) 397-9919 Fax: (018) 387-3008
Western Cape Private Bag X9070, Tel: (021) 465-1589 Fax: (021) 483-5677/
CAPE TOWN, 8000 4143
Did you know?
Toll-free numbers are only free from a landline?
Children’s Cancer HelpLine 0800 333 0555
5. Basic Needs
What use is it to
know I have a right to
enough food and clean
water, when I can’t
afford good food, and
I have to walk a long Our Constitution says that
way to fetch water everyone has the right of
every day? access to enough food and
clean water, and that every
child has a right to good,
basic nutrition. Yet we know
that for many people, that
right is not yet a reality!
What Does the Law Say?
Section 27 of the Constitution gives all citizens the right to food, but
recognises that this right is only realised when “food security” exists.
This means that there must be:
Sufﬁcient, safe, nutritious food LAWS
• Everyone must have enough food to survive
• The food must be of a high enough quality to help a person live a healthy life.
Access to food
• The government does not always have to provide sufﬁcient food to everyone, but must
make it possible for them to get their own food.
• The cost of getting enough food of sufﬁcient quality must not be so high that it becomes
impossible for an ordinary person to buy food.
• The government must help people who cannot afford to buy food themselves.
Access to Water
The Water Services Act
The Water Services Act gets its mandate from Section 27 of the Constitution, which says that
everyone has the right to have access to sufﬁcient food and water. The Act recognises that
this is a process and says that the State must take reasonable steps to ensure that this right is
progressively realised. The Act aims to make sure that everybody has access to a basic water
supply and basic sanitation by setting national standards and norms for tariffs, amongst other
The National Water Act
The National Water Act gets it mandate from Section 24 of the Constitution, which states that
everyone has the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being.
The Act aims to promote conservation and to prevent pollution. It also encourages use of water
in a way that promotes social and economic development.
Household Food Production Programme
This programme helps people who are severely
affected by food insecurity, i.e. people who
cannot rely on getting enough to eat
from one day to the next. It focuses on
teaching people how to grow food,
through agricultural starter packs and
specialised equipment like “power hoes”.
In 2006, the programme got 40 000 PROGRAMMES
households growing food; the aim in 2007
is to reach 62 000 more households. The programme
focuses mostly on youth and women, particularly the existing
beneﬁciaries of the Food Security Projects and National Food
Emergency Scheme. It works mostly in rural areas, but has
included urban areas too.
Integrated Nutrition Programme
This programme operates in hospitals and clinics to prevent child malnutrition. The
programme provides Vitamin A supplements for mothers of new-born babies, infants and
children, and a range of nutritional supplements for people living with TB and/or HIV/Aids. Visit
your local clinic. Mothers should take along their child’s “Road to Health Chart”.
National Schools Nutrition Programme
This programme provides funding for school feeding programmes. Schools receive 80c per
learner per day. There is sometimes also extra money to cover the costs of transporting food
to the schools and preparing it. Beneﬁciary schools are selected from poverty-stricken areas,
but because of limited resources not all of them beneﬁt. Schools can get an application form
from the Department of Education.
Free basic municipal services
The government is committed to the delivery of a basic level of municipal services to all
households. It is a constitutional duty of all spheres of government to ensure that all South Af-
ricans receive a minimum standard of service. Currently, Free Basic Services (FBS) target the
poor. These services include a capped services in water, sanitation, energy (electricity) and
refuse removal. Government’s national and provincial departments as well as all municipalities
are working towards providing the following for each household: 6 kl of water per month, 50
kWh of electricity per month, access to sanitation facilities and the removal of waste.
Free basic electricity
The amount of free basic electricity is 50 kWh per household per month for a grid-energy
system. This amount of electricity will be enough to provide basic lighting, basic water-heating
using a kettle, basic ironing and access to a small black-and-white television.
Free Basic Water
The Government provides a basic supply of water to poor
households free of charge to make sure that no one is denied
access to water because they are unable to pay for the service.
The South African standard on a ‘basic’ level of water supply
needed to promote healthy living is 25 litres per person per
day. This amounts to 6 000 litres per household per month for a
household of eight people. The policy allows for water services
authorities to decide how they will apply the policy speciﬁcally
Free Basic Sanitation and Infrastructure Development
The government is still ﬁnalising the Free Basic Sanitation Policy, but has made great strides
in infrastructure development. Government aims to eradicate the bucket system in the 45 000
households which still use it by the end of 2007 so that all households have access to sanita-
Free basic refuse removal
The government has not yet implemented the free waste removal programme. The Department
of Environmental Affairs and Tourism is developing a framework for the provision of free basic
waste removal services. When the strategy is ﬁnalised, the local authorities will provide waste
Recourse and redress
Contact the South African Human Rights Commission if anyone’s
right of access to food and water is being denied (see page 12).
For more information about the delivery of basic services, contact REDRESS
your local municipality. & RECOURSE
Contact the Department of Provincial and Local Government
Province Telephone Number Fax Number
Eastern Cape Tel: (040) 609-2207 Fax: (040) 635-1166
Free State Tel: (051) 405-5799 Fax: (051) 405-4803
Gauteng Tel: (011) 355-6000 Fax: (011) 836-9334 the Provincial
KwaZulu-Natal Tel: (031) 273-1600 Fax: (031) 273-1612 Local Government
Limpopo Tel: (015) 287-6000 Fax: (015) 295-3840 and Housing
Mpumalanga Tel: (013) 766-2641 Fax: (013) 766-2494 Department
Northern Cape Tel: (053) 839-5100 Fax: (053) 839-4917 contact list on
North West Tel: (018) 387-3000 Fax: (018) 387-3008
Western Cape Tel: (021) 483-4705/6 Fax: (021) 483-3421
Did you know?
Toll-free numbers are only free from a landline.
6. SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
What do you do if you need financial help just to get
through the month? Or if you are burdened with too many
responsibilities? For example, Sarah is raising children who are
not her own, and one of them is disabled. Other people have
their struggles, too ...
I’m raising my own and my sister’s children.
How am I going to cope?
I care for my mentally disabled mother,
who already receives a pension. The stress
on me is huge. Is there any help for me?
See the Grant in Aid, page 38
See the Child Support Grant, page 37
I became disabled See the Foster Child Grant, page 37
after a car accident
and now I cannot I am severely
work. Is there help disabled. Both my
for me? parents work, but it’s
still a real burden for
them to pay for help
See the and doctor’s bills. Is
Disability there anything for
Grant, page 38 my family?
See the Care Dependency Grant, page 39
What Does the Law Say?
Section 27 of the Constitution says that every person has the right of
access to social security, including social assistance (grants) if they are
unable to support themselves. The Social Assistance Act makes various
grants available. Strict conditions apply, depending on the grant.
The Child Support Grant
This grant provides ﬁnancial support to the primary caregiver of any
child under the age of 14, whether the caregiver is the parent or any
The amount is currently R200 per month, per child. To receive
the grant, the applicant’s income, as well as the income of the
applicant’s spouse, must be below a certain level:
• If you live in a rural area, you must earn less than R1 100 per SERVICES &
month, or R13 200 per year. PROGRAMMES
• If you live in an urban area in a house or ﬂat, you must earn less than
R800 per month or R9 600 per year.
• If you live in an urban area in an informal house or
shack you must earn less than R1 100 per month
or R13 200 per year.
• The child and primary caregiver must be South
African citizens and living in South Africa.
• You may not apply for more than six children who
are not your own, i.e. of whom you are not the
The Foster Child Grant
This grant is for people who care for
children who are not their own, and who
have applied through a Children’s Court
to become the foster parents of the child.
The amount is currently R620 per month,
To become foster parents, contact a social
worker through the Department of Social
Development or Child Welfare Society.
The Disability Grant
This grant gives ﬁnancial support to people who cannot work because of physical or
mental disabilities. A permanent disability grant is awarded when the disability will last
for more than a year and a temporary disability grant is given if the disability will last for
between six months and a year.
The amount is currently R870 per month. To receive the grant, the applicant’s income, as
well as the income of the applicant’s spouse, must be below a certain level:
• If you live in a rural area, you must earn less than R1 100 per month, or R13 200 per
• If you live in an urban area in a house or ﬂat, you must earn less than R800 per month
or R9 600 per year.
• If you live in an urban area in an informal house or shack you must earn less than R1
100 per month or R13 200 per year.
• The applicant must be a South African citizen, living in South Africa at the time of
• Female applicants must be from 18 to 50 years of age, and male applicants must
be from 18 to 64 years of age.
• The applicant must not be receiving care at any State institution.
• The applicant may not be receiving any other grant.
The Grant in Aid
This grant is an additional grant awarded to people who already receive an old age grant,
disability grant or war veterans grant, and who are unable to care for themselves.
The amount is currently R180 per month.
• This grant is for people who require full-time attendance by another person,
because of physical or mental disabilities.
• The applicant must not be receiving care in a State institution or any institution
that receives a subsidy.
Grant applicants can apply at their nearest Thusong Centre or Department
of Social Development. For contact information see page 51.
The Care Dependency Grant
This grant gives ﬁnancial support to people who care for children with severe disabilities and
in need of full-time care. These people can be parents, foster parents or those who have been
appointed as caregivers by the court.
The amount is currently R870 per month.
• The child must be a South African citizen. However, foster parents need not be South African
• Both applicant and child must live in South Africa.
• The child may not be cared for on a 24-hour basis for longer than six months in an institution
that is fully funded.
• The child must be between one and eighteen years old.
• The applicant and spouse (if biological parents of the child) must earn less than R4 000 a
month or R48 000 a year. The income of the child from other sources must be less than R17
760 per year. The income of foster parents will not be taken into account.
Social Relief of Distress
This is temporary assistance for people in a crisis and in need of immediate help.
You can apply for Social Relief of Distress if:
• you are waiting for another grant to be processed
• a disaster has occurred, such as your house burning down
• you do not qualify for a grant, but are in a desperate situation
• you are unable to work because you are medically unﬁt or sick for less than six months
• the breadwinner in the family has died or been sent to prison for less than six months
• you are unable to get maintenance from your child’s other parent.
The payment of a grant may be suspended, but you can apply at the Department of Social
Development for it to be restored. Grants may be suspended for various reasons:
• Change in your circumstances – admission to a State institution when the period of
temporary disability has lapsed, etc.
• Failure to cooperate when your grant is reviewed
• Failure to claim the grant for three months in a row
• Absence from South Africa for six months or longer.
How to apply for any grant
You will need:
• Your bar-coded ID book, and that of your husband or wife if you are married.
• Proof of your marital status; wedding certiﬁcate, divorce order or death certiﬁcate of
spouse if he or she has died.
• The child’s birth certiﬁcate if the grant is for a child.
• A doctor’s certiﬁcate if your grant is for disability .
• Proof of your or your spouse’s most recent income, or an afﬁdavit if you are
How to apply:
• If you are too old or sick to apply, a family member can apply on your behalf.
• You will be asked to ﬁll in a form. When it is completed and handed in, you will be given a
receipt. Keep this. It is your proof of the date that you applied.
• If your application is approved, you will be paid from the day you applied. You may be paid
in cash, collected by yourself or someone you appoint to collect it for you. This person is
called your procurator.
• If you do not have a procurator, the State must appoint someone to collect it for you.
• You may choose to have the grant paid into your bank account, or sent to your nearest post
ofﬁce for you to collect.
• If your application is not approved, the Department of Social Development must explain
why in writing. You have the right to appeal against a refusal. You must lodge your appeal
with your Provincial Minister for Social Development within 90 days of the refusal. (See The
Promotion of Administrative Justice Act, page 9).
Social grant fraud
Social grant fraud means pretending to be something
when you are not. Fraud is a crime for which you may be
imprisoned, e.g. claiming disability when you are able to work,
or claiming pensions in more than one area.
If you receive a grant that you are not entitled to, you will have
to repay it to the government. If the Department of Social
Development decides that you did not know that you were not
entitled to it, the social grant must be cancelled; otherwise it
will be considered fraud.
It is your duty to report any social grant fraud that you are Don’t get involved in grant
aware of. Grant fraud costs the State millions each year, and fraud – the penalties are high.
takes away money that would otherwise be available for those
who need it.
What is SASSA?
The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) sees to it that grants are paid out
efﬁciently and effectively. It has systems in place to prevent fraud and to protect beneﬁciaries’
information, and there are heavy penalties for staff members who bribe or accept bribes in
connection with services.
For enquiries about grants or grant fraud, contact the SASSA Call Centre: 0800 601 011
Marriage and Family
Marriage is supposed to bring happiness and
companionship, but for many people, this
is not the case. Physical, verbal and sexual SOCIAL
abuse destroy many families. However, there DEVELOPMENT
are laws to protect both men and women, as
well as children, from abuse.
When Xolani is drunk, the stresses of Patricia has become used to this. Because she
life make him aggressive, and he beats accepts it, her children have begun to think
his wife Patricia. that it’s all right for men to beat women.
It is never all right for anyone to beat his or
her partner. It is called physical abuse. There
are other forms of abuse, too, and all are
unacceptable, and against the law.
Domestic Violence: What Does the Law Say?
The Domestic Violence Act
This Act was passed to protect the many individuals and families suffering from physical,
verbal and/or sexual abuse in their own homes. All of these forms of abuse are called domestic
The Act provides steps for victims to take in order to protect themselves, and lays down clear
guidelines for the police when they deal with domestic violence reports.
One of the most difficult things for an
abused person to do is to take steps to
break out of his or her situation. Until the abused
person becomes active
This is partly because years of abuse in helping herself and
can break our confidence and our belief her children, the abuse
in the future. If you are in this situation, usually continues –
you need to convince yourself that you sometimes until death
are not worthless and incapable, and occurs. Take action
that a better life is possible. before it is too late.
Domestic Violence: Services
I don’t want my Knowing your rights is a If she wasn’t such a
children to grow good place to start. There disobedient wife then I
up abusing or are also many organisations wouldn’t be forced to do
being abused. I’m and individuals who can help. those things to her!
worried, and I Don’t suffer in silence!
don’t know what
Domestic violence does not only mean acts of violence by men towards women.
It includes acts committed by adults towards their parents, abuse in same sex
relationships, abuse of children and abuse of men by women.
According to the Domestic Violence Act, domestic violence includes:
• physical, sexual, emotional, psychological or economic harassment;
• damage to property;
• entry into another person’s property without their consent; and
• any other abusive or controlling behaviour which causes harm to a person’s health or safety.
What to Do: Applying for a Protection Order
To apply for a Protection Order, go to the nearest Magistrate’s Court. A Protection Order is
an order of the court to the abuser, warning him or her to stop abusing you, or face immediate
Take the Protection Order to the Ofﬁce of the Sheriff or to the police station closest to your home
or work. At the police station, make your statement and give the police your Protection Order.
Make sure you write down the name of the police ofﬁcer to whom you give the Protection Order
and his or her badge number. This helps you to track the order at a later stage.
The police then take the Protection Order to the abuser. This is called Serving the Protection
Order. It is the duty of the police to serve the Protection Order on the abuser, i.e. they cannot
ask you to do it.
To prove that the abuser has received the Protection Order, the police will issue something
called a Return of Service or Proof of Service. Arrange to collect this from the police, and then
take it back to the Magistrate’s Court as soon as possible. Once the Clerk has this document,
the Court will give you a Warrant of Arrest for the abuser. Keep this in a safe place. It is to be
used if the abuser repeats the offence. He can be immediately arrested if this happens.
Anyone, including a child, can apply for a Protection Order for someone else. Protection Orders
are issued at any time – including public holidays, weekends and after ofﬁce hours.
The police response
The police are duty-bound to respond to victims of abuse with respect. They have to listen to,
assist and inform you of your options without insulting or blaming you. When reporting domestic
violence, you have a right to:
• report the incident in the language of your choice
• give your statement in privacy and not in the presence of the abuser or the public.
The police must:
• Note the complaint in the Incident Register as proof that the matter has been reported.
• Keep a copy of the Protection Order and record all subsequent complaints or arrests.
• Accompany the victim to his or her home and help him or her to collect personal
• Search the premises and seize any ﬁrearms and/or dangerous weapons.
• If the victim is in danger, they can arrest the person immediately without a warrant.
• Help the victim get medical help, shelter and counselling, and inform him or her of other
services that are available.
What to do if an abuser disobeys a Protection Order:
• If an abuser disobeys a Protection Order, go to the police immediately, and give a
• Give the police the Warrant of Arrest that was issued to you when you applied for the
• If you are in immediate danger, the police will arrest the abuser and hold him in a cell until
he appears in court the following day. Otherwise, if the danger is not immediate, he will be
given a notice to appear in court the following day.
Recourse and redress
If a police ofﬁcer is rude, disrespectful, blames you, belittles you or fails in
any other respect to handle your case properly, you can report this to the
Station Commissioner at the relevant police station.
The complaint will be noted in a complaints register. The Station RECOURSE
Commissioner will take disciplinary steps against the police ofﬁcer. & REDRESS
If you are not happy with the way the complaint is handled, you can report the matter to
the Area Commissioner, and if you are still not satisﬁed, you can complain to the Provincial
Commissioner. You can also report the matter to
the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD).
They will send a report on your complaint to
the SAPS Head Ofﬁce, and inform you of what
steps are taken against the ofﬁcer concerned.
Well, looking at the Phone the SAPS Service Evaluation to report
way you’re dressed, poor police service.
I want to For ICD
I’m not surprised! contact details,
report a rape.
see page 13
SAPS Service Evaluation 0860 13 0860
Child Care: What Does the Law Say?
The Child Care Act
This Act provides for special Children’s Courts and the appointment
of welfare ofﬁcers. It also lays down the law for adoption and foster
homes and sets out the steps to be taken when a child is in need of
According to the Act, a child is in need of care if he or she is under eighteen RIGHTS AND
years of age and: LAWS
• has no parents (or the parents cannot be found);
• has been abandoned or is without support; My neighbour’s child cries all
• cannot be controlled by the parents or guardian; day and I suspect that things
• lives in circumstances that may harm his or are not right. But I don’t
her well-being; want to interfere.
• is in a state of mental or physical neglect;
• is being physically, emotionally or sexually
• is suffering from malnutrition.
The Act also says that it is illegal to abuse or
to allow the abuse of a child. If you suspect
abuse, you must speak up for the sake of the
child. If you don’t want to approach the par-
ents directly, contact your nearest Department
of Social Development (see page 51), and
they will send a social worker to investigate
the problem. Vulnerable children need caring
neighbours, so speak up!
Child Care: Services
Where parents or guardians do not fulﬁl their duties,
and children are in need of care, the State has to step
in and either help the parents or take the child away
from the parents or guardians. This is referred to as SERVICES &
child protection services. PROGRAMMES
Child protection can be carried out by a social worker,
police ofﬁcer or authorised ofﬁcer of the law, who may
take a child in need of care to a place of safety.
After this, a Children’s Court will decide on what is best
for the child. The court can order the child to be returned
to his or her parents (under the supervision of a social
worker) or it may order that the child be placed in foster
care or sent to a children’s home. The court can also
order the parents or guardian to contribute to the main-
tenance of the child.
Childline Helpline 0800 055 555
I love my kids, but I don’t see
why I should pay money to
that woman! She’s got another
boyfriend, and I know she’ll just
waste the money. And apart
from that, she never even lets me
see my kids! Why should I pay
money and not even be allowed
to see them? Pete is Xolani and
Patricia’s neighbour. He
was never married, but has
children. His ex-girlfriend
won’t let him see his
children, and he misses
them. But he won’t pay
maintenance for them.
Situations like this are all too
common. The law says that no
matter what the relationship is
like between the parents, both
parents have a duty to provide
for all the needs of their child.
Maintenance: What Does the Law Say?
The Maintenance Act
The Maintenance Act says that a child must be supported or maintained by his or her
parents, whether married or not, or his or her grandparents, if the child’s parents
were married to each other.
When parents separate, the parent who is not living with the children, REDRESS
and who has an income, has a duty to contribute to the welfare of the & RECOURSE
How is maintenance paid?
If parents cannot decide on the ﬁnancial arrangements themselves, the parent living with the
children can go to a maintenance court to get maintenance from the other parent.
The maintenance court will examine all the facts and decide how much the absent parent
should pay each month.
Parents have to accept that their duty to pay maintenance has nothing to do with their view of
the other parent’s morals or parenting skills. Therefore, even if the other parent gets involved in
another relationship, or doesn’t let you see the children, maintenance must still be paid.
Either parent can apply to have the amount changed, if their circumstances change.
should be used to
cover the child’s
Clothes Education A home
Any family member, whatever his or her age, can ask any family
member to support or maintain him or her, provided that:
• The family member who claims support is unable to maintain
himself or herself.
• The family member from whom maintenance is claimed is able to
afford the maintenance. SERVICES &
What expenses may be claimed?
You may claim support needed to provide the child with a proper living. This
includes food, clothing, accommodation and schooling. Other expenses may also be claimed.
For example, you may ask for the child to be registered on the other person’s medical aid. The
court will ask both parties to provide proof of their expenses.
The court may rule that a person pays maintenance in one of these ways:
Garnishee order: The company that employs the person deducts the money directly from his
salary and pays it into the other parent’s account.
Cash payment: The person may be ordered to pay the cash monthly at the court.
Direct payment into a bank account: The court may order that the person deposits the money
into the bank account of the other person.
If the maintenance money is not paid on the speciﬁc date, the maintenance ofﬁcer should be
informed quickly, since action will only be taken if the
recipient complains and makes a statement under
Fathers do have rights. The Natural Fathers with
Children Born out of Wedlock Act protects the
rights of unmarried fathers. It gives them the right
to apply for custody and guardianship of their
children. Fathers can adopt their children and
they have certain rights over the surname of their
I have to pay maintenance whether
I see my children or not. But I also
have a right to be part of their lives.
For more information on maintenance and related matters, contact the Department of Justice and
Constitutional Development, see page 51.
The Family Advocate
When a family breaks up through divorce or death, children often suffer the most. Many families
beneﬁt from expert advice, who can inform all parties of their rights and help bring about an
acceptable settlement. The Family Advocate is such a person.
The Family Advocate is an ofﬁcer of the court employed by the Department of Justice. He or
she listens to both sides of the story, interviews the children, explains all the options available,
explains the rights of both parties, and makes recommendations to the court.
All matters relating to divorce, custody, guardianship and access are matters for the Family
Advocate. He or she helps only when divorces are not yet ﬁnalised and cannot intervene when
the matter has been ﬁnalised in court. The Family Advocate is a neutral person who mediates,
advises, informs you of your rights and makes
recommendations to court. He or she cannot represent
either party in court or appear as a witness for either
To obtain the services of a Family Advocate, contact
your nearest Family Court or Magistrate’s Court.
Family Support Services
All problems can be solved! I thought
Family services are provided by both government ours was impossible, but with counselling
organisations and Non-Government Organisations and support, I realised that there was a
(NGOs). They include: light at the end of the tunnel. There can
be for you, too.
• marriage preparation and enrichment, and
• parental programmes.
Families who are faced with challenges such as HIV/
AIDS, marriage problems and other problems should
apply to the Department of Social Development to
receive the support they need.
Treatment for substance abuse
Substance abuse means overindulgence in, and dependence on, any addictive substance,
especially alcohol or drugs. In South Africa, drug addiction is a serious problem, destroying
families and, in some cases, permanently damaging people’s minds.
Help is available. Phone your nearest Department of Social Development and ask for a list of
all treatment facilities near you. The South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug
Dependence (SANCA ) is one of the organisations that can help.
SANCA 24-Hour Addiction Helpline (082) 264-7000
Our Constitution lays the
foundation for a society
based on respect for every
individual. We need to take
this value seriously, and
teach it to our children.
Elderly people are as much
a part of society as young
people, and should be
treated with respect.
What does the Law say?
The Older Persons Act
Older persons have the same rights as those contained in the Bill of
Rights and, in addition, they also have the right to:
• Take part in community services in a way that suits their interests and
• Participate in the making of policies that affect them directly. AND LAWS
• Participate in inter-generational programmes.
• Participate in activities that generate an income.
• Live in an environment that is safe and suitable to their life stage.
• Lifestyle options that will enhance their physical, mental and emotional well-being.
• An older person receiving community-based care has the right to stay at home as
long as possible.
• Use any available opportunity to develop their potential, and beneﬁt from family
and community life.
For information on any government service or institution, phone 1020 toll-free
Abuse of older persons
Older people are victims of many different forms of abuse. We need
to be aware of these forms, and report cases of abuse wherever we
Physical abuse: Any act that results in the injury or death of an older SERVICES &
person through the use of any physical means, e.g. slapping, hitting, PROGRAMMES
pushing, rough-handling, cutting, and use of any chemical or physical
restraints, giving incorrect or excessive medication or any act that causes injury, physical
discomfort, over-sedation or death.
Sexual abuse: Any act that results in the exploitation of an older person, for the purposes of
sexual or erotic gratiﬁcation without their full knowledge, understanding and consent.
Psychological, emotional and verbal abuse: Degrading or humiliating an older person,
resulting in psychological or emotional damage, e.g. rejection, isolation or oppression,
depriving them of affection and mental stimulation, name-calling, ridicule or accusations.
Financial/Economic abuse: The illegal use of an older person’s grant, property, valuables or
money, without their consent or full understanding of the consequences.
Neglect: Not providing care and the basic necessities required for physical and
mental well-being, e.g. lack of food, warmth, shelter, clothing, medication and emotional support.
Violation of human rights: Denying an older person his or her rights, such as respect
for dignity, privacy, freedom of thought, belief, opinion, speech, expression and movement.
We all have a duty to protect older persons from...
Economic abuse Verbal and psychological abuse
Please don’t take my pension useless fool?
money – it’s all I have!
Elder abuse is more common than many people realise. If you recognise or suspect any
of the above treatments in any elderly person you know, you have a duty to report your
concerns to a social worker or to the police. Let’s stamp out elder abuse.
“Halt Elder Abuse Line” (HEAL) 0800 003 081 (ofﬁce hours only)
The Elderly: Services
Admission to an Old-Age Home
The following persons can apply to live in an old-age home:
• Elderly persons who need full-time attendance in an old-age home.
• Persons who receive an old-age grant. SERVICES &
• Females who are 60 years and older, and males who are 65 years PROGRAMMES
The Old-Age Grant
An old age grant is a monthly income of R870 per month to older people whose income is
below a certain level. The income and assets of the applicant and their spouse are assessed to
determine if they qualify, and to what amount they are entitled.
Frail care Services
Community frail care services provide basic home-based nursing
care for elderly persons who cannot take care of themselves
because of old age. The following persons can apply:
• Elderly persons needing full-time assistance due to mental
or physical disability.
• Those who are in an old-age home which does not receive a
• Persons who receive an old-age grant.
• Females 60 years and older, and males 65 years and older.
Recourse and redress
My son used to bring
home money, even
though I knew he
wasn’t working. I saw
cell phones and other
valuable things in the
house, which I knew he
I did what I knew I had to – I phoned the police
and had him arrested. My son was a criminal.
I stopped him before he did even worse things.
This was hard, but how will we ever stamp out
crime unless we work together with the police?
Important phone numbers
Emergency calls to police 10111
Police Social Work Services, 24 hours number 082 809-2277
Police Spiritual Services, 24 hours 082 808-7478
SAPS Employee Assistance Programme 086 010-3055
Cell Phones All Networks 112
Safe Schools Call Centre 0800 454-647
National Crime Prevention Unit (012) 421-8213
National Secretariat for Safety and Security (012) 393-2500
Network on Violence Against Women (031) 304-6928
People Against Women Abuse (POWA) (011) 642-4345/6
Family and Marriage Society of South Africa (FAMSA) (011) 975-7106
Centre for Study Of Violence and Reconciliation / Trauma Clinic (011) 403-5102
The Trauma Centre for Survivors of Violence and Torture (021) 465-7373
National Network on Violence Against Women (012) 348-1231/2
Johannesburg Parent and Child Counselling Centre (011) 484-1734/5/6
Lifeline (Cape Town) (021) 461-1111/3
Lifeline (Johannesburg) (011) 728-1331
Lifeline (Port Elizabeth) (041) 585-5581
RAPE CRISIS CENTRES
Cape Town (021) 447-9762
Port Elizabeth (041) 484-3804
Pretoria (012) 342-2222
Pietermaritzburg (033) 394-4444
Durban Advice Desk for Abused Women (031) 262-5231
Network of Violence Against Women (031) 304-6928
SAPS Crime Stop 0800 150 150
Corruption Helpline 0800 201 414
Contact the Department of Social Development
Province Postal Address Telephone Number Fax Number
Eastern Cape Private Bag X0039, Tel: (041) 582-3588 Fax: (040) 639-1928
Free State Private Bag X4424, Tel: (051) 405-4821 Fax: (051) 403-3578
Gauteng Private Bag X35, Tel: (012) 320-2059 Fax: (011) 836-6533
KwaZulu-Natal Private Bag X27, Tel: (035) 874-3811 Fax: (035) 874-3710
Limpopo Private Bag X9302, Tel: (015) 291-5917 Fax: (015) 291-3355
Mpumalanga Private Bag X11213, Tel: (013) 766-3031 Fax: (013) 766-3463
Northern Cape Private Bag X5042, Tel: (053) 839-5104 Fax: (053) 831-4917
North West Private Bag X6, Tel: (018) 387-5282 Fax: (018) 387-5402
Western Cape Private Bag X9180, Tel: (021) 483-3083 Fax: (021) 483-4783
CAPE TOWN, 8000
Did you know?
Toll-free numbers are only free from a landline.
8. The world of work
We have the
right to life, food, I’ve been looking for a job
adequate housing, for ages. It’s so difficult
good education, etc. when you don’t have a
– but to many of us, lot of skills! I wish the
this means nothing, government would help
because we cannot people like me.
find work to support
all these things!
We need jobs, and
we need skills to get
Government’s role in job creation is to create laws that promote economic
development, and to offer skills-training through learnerships.
Many non-governmental organisations also offer opportunities to improve
skills. We need to take advantage of every opportunity to gain skills. For
many of us, running our own business is the only way we will ever become
What does the Law say?
The National Skills Development Act
The aim of this Act is to make sure that all
South Africans become more productive by
making education and training available in
the workplace. It encourages employers to RIGHTS
provide employees with work experience and AND LAWS
opportunities to get more skills, and encourages
employers to employ jobless people.
The Labour Relations Act
This Act governs:
• How trade unions should operate and gives speciﬁc laws on striking. All employees
have the right to form or join a trade union, to take part in the activities of the trade
union, and to strike. However, there are rules governing how such activities must be
• It encourages employees to have a say in decision-making through workplace
• It encourages resolving workplace disputes.
• It sets up the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), to
• It sets up the Labour Court and Labour Appeal Court.
The Basic Conditions of Employment Act
The following are against the law:
• employing children under the age of ﬁfteen
• forced labour
• limiting health and safety protection in any way
• limiting family responsibility leave, maternity and sick leave
• annual leave of less than two weeks, and
• expecting employees to work more than 45 hours per week.
All employers who have more than ﬁve employees must give each employee a written
description of the details of their work (a contract of employment).
Every employee has the right to:
• lodge a complaint with a labour inspector or trade union
• discuss their contract of employment with another person
• refuse to comply with any instruction that is contrary to the Act
• inspect any record relating to their employment, and
• request a trade union representative or labour inspector to inspect any record.
Labour inspectors help monitor and enforce this Act. They may enter any workplace, without
telling the employer that they intend to visit, as long as it is a reasonable time of day. They
do not need a warrant. Labour inspectors have the power to question, inspect and copy any
records. It is against the law to refuse to cooperate with a labour inspector, or to provide him or
her with false information.
If the labour inspector thinks that an employer is not obeying any section of the Employment
Act, they may either get the employer to agree to obey the law or they may issue a compliance
order, giving the employer a set period of time in which to comply. The compliance order must
be given to both the employer and any affected employees and it must be displayed in the
Labour Centres keep a
register of all jobs and
training available in an area,
and link work-seekers with
They also help people to start SERVICES &
income-generating projects. Look PROGRAMMES
for the Labour Centre in your area.
To ﬁnd out where your nearest
Labour Centre is, turn to page 57.
A learnership is a learning programme that leads to a qualiﬁcation, arranged by employers for their
employees. Unemployed people may also beneﬁt from learnerships, by registering at their nearest
Labour Centre. Learnerships do not cost anything, and are a good way to develop skills.
How to join a learnership
Decide what skills you want. The training you receive should match your interests and abilities.
If you are unemployed, register as a work-seeker.
If you are not yet employed register as a work-seeker at your nearest Labour Centre.
Find employers that offer learnerships
The unemployed should contact various Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) to
ﬁnd out which employers offer learnerships. Employed people should ask their supervisor or trade
union representative if their employer offers learnerships.
If an employer does not offer learnerships, encourage them to start one. There are ﬁnancial
rewards for employers who start learnerships. They can ﬁnd out more at the Department of Labour.
Find out as much as possible about the learnership
You should ﬁnd out:
• What will be expected of you (e.g. will you have to study in the evenings?).
• What qualiﬁcation you will get, and what level the qualiﬁcation will be.
• What kind of tests there will be, and what happens if you fail.
• Whether you will be able to cope with the classroom and practical work.
• Whether there will be future promotion or training.
Every unemployed person should have a CV (Curriculum Vitae)
A CV tells potential employers who you are and what your strong points are. A CV should
• Personal details: name, date of birth, address, ID number
• Education: school attended, year and qualiﬁcations
• Work experience: previous employers, your job title and a
description of your responsibilities there
• Other skills: driver’s licence, computer skills
• Your strong points/qualities you can offer a company:
e.g. good at teamwork, sense of initiative, good at customer
relations, hard worker, enthusiastic – think of qualities that
you can emphasise to market yourself (but be honest).
• Referees: names and details of people who can be
contacted by your potential employer, to check what kind of
employee you are.
Referring a Dispute to the CCMA
Disputes about working conditions can be referred to
any bargaining council or to the CCMA. An inspector
will investigate the case and order compliance by
the employer or, if necessary, refer the dispute to the
CCMA. If the dispute remains unresolved, it will be
referred to the Labour Court.
The Court can order the employer to comply and/or to
pay any outstanding amounts owed to an employee.
What is Conciliation-Arbitration?
A conciliation hearing is a process where a
commissioner (or a panellist, in the case of a bargaining council or agency) meets with the
parties in a dispute to explore ways to settle the dispute by agreement.
The conciliation-arbitration (con-arb) process resolves individual unfair labour practices and
unfair dismissals quickly and fairly. The conciliation process is uncomplicated, inexpensive
and you don’t need a lawyer.
At a conciliation meeting the employer may appear in person or may be represented
by a director or another employee or an employers’ organisation. The employee may be
represented by an ofﬁce-bearer or ofﬁcial of the employee’s registered trade union.
Compensation for Occupational Injuries
The Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act gives
workers the right to claim compensation if they were injured or fell ill with
a work-related disease.
• Employers must report all diseases or injuries that are caused
by work to the Compensation Fund within twelve months of
the injury or diagnosis of a disease, or the date of death.
• Employers must submit the required forms to the
Compensation Commissioner within seven days after Contact Details:
an injury and within fourteen days of being notiﬁed of the
diagnosis of a disease. PO Box 955,
• Workers may apply for more compensation if their injury, or Pretoria, 0001
disease was caused by the negligence of their employer or a
worker who acts for the employer. Tel: (012) 319-9111
Hotline: 0860 105 350
CCMA Call Centre 0861 16 16 16
The Unemployment Insurance Fund
This fund offers security for people
who become unemployed. It pays out a
monthly sum for a few months after a
person becomes unemployed.
The Unemployment Insurance Act and Unemployment Insurance Contributions Act apply
to all employers and workers, but not to workers working less than 24 hours a month; learn-
ers; public servants; foreigners working on contract; workers who get a monthly State (old-
age) pension; or workers who only earn commission.
All employers, including employers of domestic and farm workers, must register themselves
and their workers with the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF). The UIF will pay workers or
their families when the worker:
• becomes unemployed
• cannot work due to illness
• is on maternity leave
• is on adoption leave
• or passes away.
There are various ways to register with the UIF. It is the employer’s responsibility to ﬁll in and
send the forms to register themselves and their workers.
• The ID numbers and addresses of employers and workers.
• Employer reference number. If you do not have a number, the UIF will create a reference
number and send it to you.
How you can register
• Online: Complete the online registration form and e-mail the forms.
• Via telephone (012) 337-1680.
• Via fax at (086) 712-2000. Call the UIF fax line from your fax machine and follow the voice
prompts. Then wait for the forms to be faxed to you.
• Via mail: Mail the forms to the UIF at The UIF, Pretoria, 0052.
• At a Labour Centre.
Labour Mobile Units
Do you live in a rural area far away from the nearest
Labour Centre? Look out for the Labour Mobile
Unit. These Units will help you in the application
and processing of UIF and compensation beneﬁts,
Enforcement and Inspection Services (IES) and
Employment and Skills Development Services
(ESDSs). Labour Inspectors, Client Services Ofﬁcers (CSOs) and Employment Service
Practitioners (ESPs) are on board to help you with any labour-related service.
Claiming Unemployment Beneﬁts
Work is hard to find. Make
sure you are registered with
the UIF to help you and your
family while you are looking
for a job.
When a worker becomes unemployed, he or she must:
• complete the correct forms and hand it in at a Labour Centre;
• register as a work-seeker at a Labour Centre and be available to
• report to a Labour Centre when asked to; and
• undergo training and counselling when asked to. REDRESS
When can I claim from UIF?
• UIF does not pay beneﬁts if you resign from your job – you have to be dismissed.
• UIF will pay workers or their families when the worker dies.
• UIF will pay beneﬁts to workers who cannot work because of illness.
• UIF will pay beneﬁts to workers who do not receive a salary during maternity leave.
Contact the Labour Centres
Province Postal Address Telephone Number Fax Number
Eastern Cape Private Bag X6045, Tel: (041) 506-5003 Fax: (041) 582-3694
Free State PO Box 325, ZASTRON, Tel: (051) 673-1471 Fax: (051) 673-1491
Gauteng PO Box 393, Tel: (012) 309-4000 Fax: (012) 320-5627
KwaZulu-Natal PO Box 10074, MARINE Tel: (031) 336-1500 Fax: (031) 307-1933
Limpopo Private Bag X9368, Tel: (015) 299-5000 Fax: (015) 290-1670
Mpumalanga Private Bag X11298, Tel: (013) 753-2844 Fax: (013) 752-3270
Northern Cape Private Bag X5012, Tel: (053) 838-1500 Fax: (053) 838-1618
North West Private Bag X2154, MA- Tel: (018) 381-1010 Fax: (018) 381-5231
Western Cape PO Box 872, CAPE Tel: (021) 460-5911 Fax: (021) 462-0981
Nozuko, I have a problem. My child’s school is putting
him in a separate classroom and refusing to teach him
until I pay the school fees. I know I must pay – but are
they allowed to do this?
No. The law says that no child
can be denied an education if the
parents cannot afford the fees!
Read about it in the South African
What does the Law say?
The South African Schools Act
The South African Schools Act of 1996 is the most important legislation
dealing with education. Although education is partly controlled by
provincial governments, the Act creates the framework within which
they must operate. It says:
• Schooling is compulsory from the ages of seven to ﬁfteen, or up to
Grade 9, whichever comes ﬁrst.
• No one can be turned away from a school if they cannot afford to pay the
fees. However, anyone wanting to be exempted from paying school fees
must apply to the governing body of the school for this exemption.
The Act also makes provision for adult basic education.
The Higher Education Act
This Act, together with the Further Education and Training Act of 1998, has been passed to
protect your right to further education. Recognising social imbalances, the Act says that a higher
education institution, like a university, must be less strict when considering an entrance application
from someone who is previously disadvantaged.
The Act also gives the State the responsibility to fund institutions for higher education. This
funding should be fair and transparent, but should also favour those who are previously
The Higher Education Act also helps deﬁne the policy of higher education institutions as follows:
• There should be broader access to higher education.
• Higher education should meet the needs of the market-place.
• Higher education should help produce good citizens.
• Higher education should contribute to the advancement of knowledge and citizenship.
The National Education Policy Act
You have the right to be taught in the ofﬁcial language or languages of your choice in a public
educational institution. The National Education Policy Act supports this right, but only if it is
“reasonably practicable” – in other words, if there are at least 40 learners in Grades 1 to 7, or
at least 35 learners in Grades 8 to 12, who prefer the language.
On languages as subjects at school, the Act says:
• The language of instruction should be an ofﬁcial language.
• Learners should be taught in one language in the ﬁrst two years of school.
• From the third year of school, learners must learn two languages – one of these must
be the language of instruction.
• Multi-lingualism (being able to use many languages) should be promoted.
Admission to a public school
A public school is an educational institution owned by the State and
registered with the Department of Education.
Admission to Grade R: The age of admission to Grade R is between
four-and-a-half and ﬁve-and-a-half years old if the child turns six on or
before 30 June in the Grade 1 year.
Admission to Grade 1: The age of admission to Grade 1 is ﬁve years old if PROGRAMMES
the child turns six on or before 30 June in the Grade 1 year.
When you apply to a school to enrol your child, you must produce your child’s ofﬁcial birth
certiﬁcate and proof that your child has been
If you are not South African citizens, you
also need a study permit and a temporary or
permanent residence permit or proof that you
have applied for permission to stay in South
No school may discriminate unfairly against
a child. This means that no public school
may make children write admissions tests,
or prevent a child from coming to the school
because the parents have not paid or cannot
pay the school fees.
For information on any government service or institution, phone 1020
How to get a matric certiﬁcate Has your matric certificate
been lost, stolen or
You have to register for six subjects and pass at least ﬁve, damaged? Have you
including two ofﬁcial languages, both on higher grade. To pass changed your surname?
with exemption, (i.e. be eligible to attend university) you must To have your matric
pass three higher grade subjects from three different subject certificate re-issued, contact
groups. your provincial education
You must obtain 720 marks for a senior certiﬁcate pass and nine
hundred and ﬁfty marks 950 for a senior certiﬁcate pass with
If your matric certiﬁcate has been lost, stolen or damaged, or
you have changed your surname, you may apply to have it re-
Application forms to write matric are available from the
Directorate: National Examinations and provincial education
departments (their examinations directorates).
Admission to an Institution of Higher Learning
The minimum admission requirement for university is a Senior Certiﬁcate with exemption. For
a university of technology it is a Senior Certiﬁcate (matric pass). However, if you are a mature
student (23 years or older) you do not need a Senior Certiﬁcate with exemption to get into
university. You may apply for conditional exemption. Check with the institution to which you
are applying for further admission requirements.
If you enrol at a private institution of higher learning, check that it is registered with the
Department of Education, and that the courses you wish to take are also registered.
National Student Financial Aid Scheme
The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) is a loan and bursary scheme funded
by the Department of Education. This fund was set up to help students who have potential but
cannot afford to fund their own studies.
To qualify you have to be:
• a South African citizen, registered at a university or university of technology;
• assessed as being ﬁnancially needy;
• performing well academically; and
• an undergraduate, studying for your ﬁrst or second degree or diploma.
NSFAS Call Centre: (021) 763-3232
Department of Education Hotline 0800 202 933
ABET (Adult Basic Education and Training) aims to provide basic learning tools, knowledge
and skills, and equips participants with nationally recognised qualiﬁcations.
Anyone who did not complete mainstream schooling may register with any ABET centre. The
ABET centres may conduct placement tests to determine whether you, the learner, are at level
one, two or three.
Redress and recourse
If you have a complaint about the way your child’s school is run, or any decision
affecting your child’s education, you should ﬁrst approach the school’s governing
body. The governing body comprises the principal and elected members,
including parents and teachers, and is responsible for running the school
according to national and provincial laws. REDRESS
If the governing body does not deal with your complaint properly, you can
contact the Head of the Department of Education in your province, which has the power to
overrule any decision made by a governing body.
You can also approach the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) if you feel
that any of your educational rights are being violated (See page 12).
Contact the Department of Education
Province Postal Address Telephone Number Fax Number
Eastern Cape Private Bag X0032, Tel: (040) 608-4202 Fax: (040) 608-4247
Free State PO Box 521 Tel: (051) 404-8411 Fax: (051) 404-8295
Gauteng Private Bag X895, Tel: (011) 355-0909 Fax: (011) 355-0542
KwaZulu-Natal Private Bag X9137, Tel: (033) 355-2450 Fax: (033) 394-0893
Limpopo Private Bag X9489, Tel: (015) 297-8112 Fax: (015) 297-0885
Mpumalanga PO Box 3011, Tel: (013) 766-5555 Fax: (013) 766-5587
Northern Cape Private Bag X5023, Tel: (053) 830-7160 Fax: (053) 830-7177
North West Private Bag X2044, Tel: (018) 387-3700 Fax: (018) 384-5016
Western Cape Private Bag X9161, Tel: (021) 467-2523 Fax: (021) 425-5689
CAPE TOWN, 8000
10. Community Development
One of the biggest problems regarding service
delivery to all South Africans is that many
people – especially the poorest and most
desperate – are unable to access the full
potential of government programmes.
One of the reasons is that they simply
don’t know about them. Another is that the
services and programmes are too far away,
and some people lack the resources to make
repeated journeys and phone calls.
For this reason, in 2003, through a series of
government and public imbizos, a need was
identified for a new kind of public servant – a
Community Development Worker.
Community Development Workers are special public servants who live in and work with
communities. They interact closely with all people, listen to their needs, and put them in touch with
a wide range of services – in health, welfare, housing, agriculture, economic activities, education and
training, and employment.
If you would like to know more about community workers, contact:
The Department of Public Service and Administration: (012) 336-1000
The Department of Provincial and Local Government: (012) 334-0600
What Are Thusong Centres? 5
Index of Government
KNOW AND DEFEND
Defending Your Rights: Redress and Recourse 10
The Public Protector 11
The South African Human Rights Commission 12
The Commission on Gender Equality
The Open Democracy Advice Centre 13
The Independent Complaints Directorate
Going to Court
Applying for Citizenship 16
Getting Your ID 17
Registering a Birth 17
Late Registration 18
Registering a Death 18
Registering a Marriage 19
Housing Subsidies 21
Relocation Assistance 21
The Individual Housing Subsidy 22
The People’s Housing Process 22
Project-Linked Housing Subsidy 23
Institutional Subsidy 23
Hostel Subsidy 24
Discount Beneﬁt Scheme 24
Rural Subsidy 24
The Consolidated Housing Subsidy 25
BASIC NEEDS HEALTHCARE
Tuberculosis (TB) 29
Measles and Polio 29
Getting an Abortion 31
Household Food Production Programme 34
The Integrated Nutrition Programme 34
National Schools Nutrition Programme 34
Free Basic Municipal Services 34
The Child Support Grant 37
The Foster Child Grant 37
The Disability Grant 38
The Grant in Aid 38
The Care Dependency Grant 39
Social Relief of Distress 39
Lapsed Grants 39
How to Apply for Any Grant 40
Social Grant Fraud 40
What is SASSA? 40
Domestic Violence: Laws and Services 41
Child Care: Laws and Services 44
Maintenance: Laws and Services 45
The Family Advocate 47
Family Support Services 47
Treatment of Substance Abuse 48
The Elderly: Laws and Services 48
Labour Centres 53
Resolving Disputes (CCMA) 55
Compensation for Occupational Injuries 55
The Unemployment Insurance Fund 56
Claiming Unemployment Beneﬁts 57
Admission to Public Schools 59
How to Get a Matric Certiﬁcate 60
Admission to an Institution of Higher Learning 60
The National Student Financial Aid Scheme 60
Community Development Worker Programme 62
And our laws make those rights
real and meaningful. But for
us to really benefit, we need to
know those laws, and not only
the laws, but the many services
and organisations that have
been set up to help us improve
our quality of life!
Our Constitution recognises
that every human being has
certain rights, which no one
can take away.
All the information we need
is available. It’s up to us
We all need this information, if to find out about the laws
not for ourselves, then to share which protect us and the
with others. No South African services that help us. When
should be left out in the cold. we know the laws and the
Let’s share our knowledge, places which can help, we
educate one another, so that can take steps to improve
our family and community our quality of life!
begin to prosper.
Developed for Government’s Social Cluster by the Educational Support Services Trust 2007