The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) has passed the Social Assistance Amendment Bill during its plenary sitting on Thursday.

The Bill (Bill 8B of 2018), which amends the Social Assistance Act of 2004, aims to provide for additional payments linked to social grants.

These include providing for payment of a social grant to a child responsible for a child-headed household; and social relief of distress in the event of a disaster.

Among other things, the bill also aims to streamline and improve the process of appeals against decisions of the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), by providing for an Independent Tribunal to these appeals.

Parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said the NCOP’s passing of the bill without further amendment, follows consideration of the bill by the Parliamentary committees of both Houses of Parliament and consultation with the public on the bill.

“The Portfolio Committee on Social Development considered and finalised its consideration of the bill on 17 March 2020, following public hearings and submissions involving the Black Sash Trust, the Children’s Institute, and the Centre for Child Law, the Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Office, the Children in Distress Network and Nomhle Nkwanyana.

“Following these public hearings in February 2020, the Portfolio Committee invited the Department of Social Development to respond to the issues raised in the submissions.

“The Select Committee on Health and Social Services has also finalised its report on the bill on 14 October 2020, without amendments. This followed briefings and public hearings in all provinces, and on 7 October 2020 submission of negotiating mandates from all provinces,” Mothapo said.

The bill will now be sent to President Cyril Ramaphosa for assent.

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