Developmental social policies for the poor in South Africa: Exploring options to enhance impacts?
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Options to enhance the developmental impact of South Africa’s comprehensive suite of social protection policies have attracted considerable research and policy interest. The country’s society safety nets appear to be well-target at its intended beneficiaries (poor and vulnerable households) as manifested in reduced levels of income poverty among social grant recipients. To date a plethora of mixed results exist on its immediate and short-term impacts on fiscal spending trade-offs and disincentive effects to participate in labour markets. However, in the context of structural poverty the need exists to better understand the potential longer-range developmental spin-offs of targeted social spending. This paper contributes to this expanding body of research with a specific focus on how social grant payment options might be used to enhance the developmental impact of social grants. It constructs a conceptual framework which connects the developmental potential of cash, in-kind and voucher payment options with development interventions targeting smallholder farm production, employment and child development. It brings together evidence on relevant global and local case studies, using a typology derived from the conceptual framework.