Social and community development

Based on the Millennium Development Goals 2015 Country Report, South Africa has made some progress in addressing extreme poverty, although income inequality remains a huge challenge. The National Development Plan has set a target to eradicate absolute poverty – from 39% of people living below the poverty line to zero by 2030.

Overview of CSI spend on social and community development

Social and community development was supported by 70% of companies and received 15% of CSI expenditure in 2016.


Guidelines for effective funding

  • Work with partners rather than attempting to support projects independently. The complexity of challenges within the social development sector requires collaboration between experienced development partners, to ensure a combination of sound development principles, skills and innovation.
  • Invest in establishing centralised service hubs for community-based organisations. Bringing complementary services together makes them more accessible to community members and facilitates more comprehensive and holistic responses, which can deepen the impact in a particular locality.
  • Wherever possible, build the capacity of the projects and people within the organisations that you support.
  • Make a concerted effort to understand women’s concerns and include them in decision-making forums when supporting community development. Women comprise at least half the adult population, while female-headed households are a significant feature in underdeveloped communities. Women’s voices, and the development of leadership capacity among women, are crucial for effective and long-term development.

Big picture figures

  • Based on the 2016 national budget speech, expenditure on social assistance will increase by 28%, from R129 billion in 2016, to R165 billion in 2018/19.
  • Old age, disability and care dependency grants increased from R1 420 per month in 2015 to R1 510 in 2016. The child support grant rose by 6%, to R350 per month in April 2016, and the foster care grant rose by 6%, to R890 per month.
  • According to Africa Check, the number of social grant recipients in South Africa has increased by 323% over the past 20 years – from an estimated four million in 1994 to 16.9 million by September 2015. Treasury expects this figure to increase to 18.1 million by 2018/19.
  • According to the 2016 Socio-Economic Review and Outlook by Treasury, the last Gini coefficient recorded to measure income inequality in South Africa was 0.64 in 2014.
  • The 2016 community survey conducted by Statistics South Africa revealed that the number of households headed by children between the ages of 10 and 19 increased by 24%, from 225 463 in 2011 to 279 297 in 2016.
  • Statistics South Africa reported a 29% decrease in the number of children aged 17 years and younger who had lost one or both parents – from 3.4 million in 2011 to 2.4 million in 2016. Paternal orphanhood remains higher than maternal orphanhood.
  • At the end of 2015, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reported a total of 121 645 refugees and 1 096 063 asylum seekers in South Africa.
  • Based on South Africa’s 2011 census, the disability prevalence rate in South Africa is 8%.
  • The Quarterly Labour Force Survey, Quarter 2, 2016 shows that unemployment increased from 25% in the second quarter of 2015 to 27% in the same period in 2016.
  • The 55- to 64-year age group consistently accounts for the smallest unemployment rate, reported at 10% in the first quarter of 2016. The 15- to 24-year and 25- to 34-year age groups consistently account for the largest unemployment rates at 55% and 31% respectively for the same period.