Data

General Issues
Human Rights & Civil Rights
Social Welfare
Specific Topics
Pensions & Retirement
Low-income Assistance
Collections
Participedia Team
Location
Cape Town
Western Cape
South Africa
Scope of Influence
Metropolitan Area
Parent of this Case
Participatory Research on the Decommissioning of South African Social Services
Files
Black Sash Report 2019 - The negative impact of the decommissioning of SASSA pay points on the bodies of rural, elderly social grant recipients in the Western Cape
Links
Black Sash Community-Based Monitoring - SACLA Health Project
Start Date
End Date
Ongoing
No
Time Limited or Repeated?
A single, defined period of time
Purpose/Goal
Research
Make, influence, or challenge decisions of government and public bodies
Approach
Research
Independent action
Evaluation, oversight, & social auditing
Spectrum of Public Participation
Consult
Total Number of Participants
13
Open to All or Limited to Some?
Limited to Only Some Groups or Individuals
Targeted Demographics
Elderly
Low-Income Earners
General Types of Methods
Participatory arts
Research or experimental method
Evaluation, oversight, and social auditing
General Types of Tools/Techniques
Collect, analyse and/or solicit feedback
Specific Methods, Tools & Techniques
Workshop
Focus Group
Body Mapping
River of Life
Community-Based Participatory Research
Legality
Yes
Facilitators
Yes
Facilitator Training
Professional Facilitators
Face-to-Face, Online, or Both
Face-to-Face
Types of Interaction Among Participants
Informal Social Activities
Ask & Answer Questions
Storytelling
Information & Learning Resources
No Information Was Provided to Participants
Decision Methods
Not Applicable
Communication of Insights & Outcomes
Public Hearings/Meetings
Primary Organizer/Manager
Black Sash
Type of Organizer/Manager
Academic Institution
Non-Governmental Organization
Community Based Organization
Funder
University of the Western Cape, The Black Sash Trust, Participedia
Type of Funder
Academic Institution
International Organization
Non-Governmental Organization
Staff
Yes
Volunteers
Yes
Evidence of Impact
No

CASE

Decommissioning South African Social Services: Participatory Field Research in Khayelitsha

February 28, 2020 Jesi Carson, Participedia Team
February 23, 2020 Jaskiran Gakhal, Participedia Team
November 4, 2019 rjpasensie
June 10, 2019 rjpasensie
General Issues
Human Rights & Civil Rights
Social Welfare
Specific Topics
Pensions & Retirement
Low-income Assistance
Collections
Participedia Team
Location
Cape Town
Western Cape
South Africa
Scope of Influence
Metropolitan Area
Parent of this Case
Participatory Research on the Decommissioning of South African Social Services
Files
Black Sash Report 2019 - The negative impact of the decommissioning of SASSA pay points on the bodies of rural, elderly social grant recipients in the Western Cape
Links
Black Sash Community-Based Monitoring - SACLA Health Project
Start Date
End Date
Ongoing
No
Time Limited or Repeated?
A single, defined period of time
Purpose/Goal
Research
Make, influence, or challenge decisions of government and public bodies
Approach
Research
Independent action
Evaluation, oversight, & social auditing
Spectrum of Public Participation
Consult
Total Number of Participants
13
Open to All or Limited to Some?
Limited to Only Some Groups or Individuals
Targeted Demographics
Elderly
Low-Income Earners
General Types of Methods
Participatory arts
Research or experimental method
Evaluation, oversight, and social auditing
General Types of Tools/Techniques
Collect, analyse and/or solicit feedback
Specific Methods, Tools & Techniques
Workshop
Focus Group
Body Mapping
River of Life
Community-Based Participatory Research
Legality
Yes
Facilitators
Yes
Facilitator Training
Professional Facilitators
Face-to-Face, Online, or Both
Face-to-Face
Types of Interaction Among Participants
Informal Social Activities
Ask & Answer Questions
Storytelling
Information & Learning Resources
No Information Was Provided to Participants
Decision Methods
Not Applicable
Communication of Insights & Outcomes
Public Hearings/Meetings
Primary Organizer/Manager
Black Sash
Type of Organizer/Manager
Academic Institution
Non-Governmental Organization
Community Based Organization
Funder
University of the Western Cape, The Black Sash Trust, Participedia
Type of Funder
Academic Institution
International Organization
Non-Governmental Organization
Staff
Yes
Volunteers
Yes
Evidence of Impact
No

A case study of the Khayelithsa urban township community as part of a participatory research initiative on the decommissioning of the South African Social Services (SASSA) social grant pay points.

Problems and Purpose

This is a component case of a collaborative research project between University of the Western Cape and Black Sash. Overall the research explores the effect of the decommissioning of the old SASSA (South African Social Services Agency) pay points and its former payment structure, especially on the elderly.[1] It has now been replaced by a payment infrastructure provided for by the South African Post Office (SAPO).[2] Additionally grant recipients may also receive their money at commercial banks and selected retailers.[3] This has resulted in a greater number of recipients accessing their grants through Automated Teller Machines (ATMs).[4] This component of the research project examines these changes in grant access, focusing on recipients in the Khayelitsha rural community.

Background History and Context

Khayelitsha is a black African township situated roughly 25kmoutside Cape Town.[5] It is one of the largest townships in Cape Town with a population of almost 400,000.[6] It was created in 1989 as a space for black African people as part of the ongoing process of spatial planning and racial separation in South Africa during its Apartheid era.[7] Khayelitsha is a generally poor, low to middle income area[8] with a high rate of crime, particularly gang-related.[9] The housing in Khayelitsha ranges from government issue homes to shack dwellings.[10] While Khayelithsa is a mostly black African (South African) area it is also home to a small but significant group of foreign nationals, constituting 0.6% of the population.[11] Khayelitsha as the second urban case site for this research is the opposite of the other urban case site, Delft, in racial composition, however, issues of crime along with inadequate and insufficient housing remain the same.

Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities

The entire research project is organised and funded through a collaborative project between Black Sash, University of the Western Cape (UWC) and Participedia.[12] The research in Khayelitsha is specifically funded and organised through UWC and Black Sash.

To support these entities, local community-based organisations (CBO) working with Black Sash are used to help source participants for the research.[13] As a civil society organisation, Black Sash partners with CBOs to facilitate its goal of community engagement with government.[14] Through Black Sash, researchers are able to connect with relevant CBOs in the four chosen case studies. In Khayelitsha the CBO is the SACLA Health project, a youth clinic for the community of Khayelitsha[15]. SACLA provides quality and affordable health care for Khayelithsa and surrounding rural areas.[16]

For more information on the organizers of the full research project on SASSA’s decommissioning, see the parent case entry.

Participant Recruitment and Selection

For the overall research project, the four component cases were selected to reflect both urban and rural settings.[17] The Khayelitsha case is an example of an urban setting. The researchers’ expected that decommissioning would affect rural and urban recipients differently, with urban areas less affected in terms of distance and time to travel than in rural areas.

Khayelitsha was selected as it is a mostly black African and poor settlement unlike the other urban case study Delft, which is a predominantly Coloured area. Khayelitsha has a reputation for being a relatively unsafe area with a number of drug gangs – again, this is not uncommon in poor, urban areas of the city.

Lastly, the residents were recruited through the Black Sash advice office operating in Khayelitsha, and are well known to the NGO workers there. Through the assistance of SACLA Health Project, thirteen participants were sourced for the three day research process.[18] The provision of food and travel costs for the participants were provided for by the CBO, who received a stipend from Black Sash.

Methods and Tools Used

The design of this project draws upon exploratory qualitative research previously undertaken by Black Sash. The research is qualitative overall, although various kinds of data - quantitative and qualitative, numerical, written, oral and visual - were collected.[19] In Khayelitsha, as in all sites, the following participatory research methods, tools and techniques were used[20]:

  1. Focus groups: A discussion held between no more than ten participants led by a facilitator/researcher.
  2. Interviews: Individually administered series of questions to participants.
  3. Observation: Annotating participants and their environment by researchers.
  4. River of Life: Participatory research tool that gets participants to draw their experiences as a river.
  5. Body mapping: Participatory research tool that gets participants to explain the effects of an experience on their body and in relation to it.

What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation

The research engaged with five key variables tested through a variety of research tools. These five variables are: time, finance, dignity, opportunity cost and distance.[21] The individual participant interviews, focus groups and observation schedule were used to collect factual and perceptual data on the grant experience. Together with this, two participatory research tasks were administered to participants. The first of these was the River of Life. The River of life enabled participants to subjectively reflect on the grant experience using a visual narrative method, where they reflect on their grant experience by representing it as a river.[22] Each obstacle, challenge or highlight of the journey was annotated on the river and then presented back to the group.

In conjunction with the River of Life participants also engaged in a body mapping exercise. Body mapping is a narrative method that is used to gain an understanding of oneself and our bodies in relation to the world we live in.[23] This method was used to hone in on the dignity variable to allow participants to create narratives of the effect of the decommissioning process on themselves. Participants drew an outline of their bodies (drawn to scale) and painted/decorated their body maps to express emotional responses to the decommissioning process and to present associated issues of the decommissioning.[24] The body maps were also used to show the physical effect on the body such as stress and excitement that the day of grant receiving brings.

The research is designed in two phases: i.) fieldwork and ii) products.[25] The fieldwork phase comprises three, non-consecutive, days of data gathering. During the fieldwork phase of Khayelitsha, researchers were engaged in the following:

i.) Fieldwork Phase

Day 1-workshop: On Tuesday 2 April, the researchers met with the grant recipients, as organised by the partner organisation of Black Sash, SACLA Health Project. The day involved “explaining the project, securing ethical clearance and conducting ‘rivers of life,’” a participatory activity designed to learn about grant collection day experiences.[26]

Day 2-grant recipient travel: On Monday 1 April, researchers travelled with selected participants to collect their money, while interviewing, observing and photographing the process of the day.

 Day 3-workshop: On Friday 12 April, researchers debriefed the Khayelitsha community, presenting to them the interim findings.[27]

ii.) The products phase of the research was to be completed once all four case study sites have been conducted. This phase was completed between April to May 2019 and included:

  • Ongoing findings from each research site published on the Participedia website.
  • The production of a project report by the end of May
  • The production of one or more documentary videos of the research process, published on the Participedia website

On Monday 1 April, researchers from the Department of Political Studies at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) conducted a workshop and interviews with 13 recipients of social grants in Khayelitsha, Western Cape. The focus of the workshop on 2 April was on recipients experience of the change in the allocation of social grants from the SASSA pay point system to the new system.

These recipients were all residents of Khayelitsha, and their presence at the workshop was facilitated by the Black Sash through its partnership with SACLA Health Project. Before the workshop, researchers conducted a follow-along with participants as they went about collecting their grants. This took place on Monday 1 April. This process involved participant interviews and observation.

The day 1 workshop was comprised of 13 participants of whom all were black African. Most of the participants were female, with only 1 male. The average age of the group was 74.

Results per variable:

1. Distance

With respect to the impact of decommissioning on the distance travelled to access these grants, the research revealed that roughly half (7) recipients have reported an increase in distance travelled. The remaining participants reported either no change in distance travelled or were now travelling a shorter distance.[28] An average increase of 0.1km was reported. Most participants noted that they now access their grant at the mall that is a short distance from the former paypoint, hence the minimal change to distance.[29] Participants who reported large differences in distance, such as K01 and K03, travel outside Khayelitsha to another township area, Mithcell’s Plain to get their grant.

2. Finances

While changes in distance have been minimal for participants in Khayelitsha, the cost of travel to access points for grants now has increased on average by R23.69. The former paypoint in Khayelitsha, a community hall, was situated close to participants and within the community itself meaning that participants only had to walk. All participants reported that they walked to the former paypoint and paid no money in travel costs. The retail stores and ATMs where participants must now collect their money is situated at a nearby mall a similar distance away as the community hall. However, this mall is located across a busy intersection over a highway and participants cannot safely cross it. Participants now have to take a taxi to get to the other side of the highway where the mall is located. This has resulted in a phenomenal increase in cost from R0 to roughly R23 a return trip.

3. Travel time

Although the change in distance from the former paypoint to the current one is minimal, the method of transport has changed from walking to taking a taxi. This has meant that in most cases for the participants, they have reported little increase in time or less time taken to get to their pay site.[30] A drop in travel time was reported for participants such as K012 who no longer collect their grant themselves but have someone else collect it for them and bring it to their home.

4. Dignity

In terms of this variable, participants were probed for changes surrounding dignified treatment by officials/retail workers, the conditions under which they received their grant, access to adequate ablution facilities, safety, access to recourse and general sentiment surrounding the participants feelings of the grant collection process.

The participants noted that they felt very uneasy and unsafe having to walk and take a taxi in Khayelitsha. This is due to the high crime in the area. Two participants noted that they collect their grant outside of Khayelithsa in a different area because they felt safer doing so. Most participants noted with concern the rise in crime in the area with one participant stating that, “At the Promenade they help us, there you will [have] security”.

In addition to the threat of crime, participants noted that there were little to no facilities for elderly, disabled or sick persons who queue now unlike before when these groups would have been given preference at the former paypoint.[31] Toilet facilities were noted as being especially dreadful with hardly any toilet paper and generally unsanitary conditions. No chairs, shelter or food are available for grant recipients or Participants stated that:

“The paypoint had chairs available, staff were friendly and helpful, there were many people on duty to help.”
"They also try very hard to try to make sure we understand and explain and so on".
“Disabled people went to the front of the line. There were lots of security. They stood there with AK47's".
"They treated us very well before we had water, shelter and we had access to the public toilets as well. We got our grant in full with no deductions."
"We were put inside the community hall so it was safe. The queues, although they were long, but you could leave and buy something to eat and come back to your position. There were no delays."
"Now we are not fairly treated, because we just stand in lines with no one guiding us. We don't get chairs, we have no access to water and you need to pay R1 for the toilet/bathroom so if you don't have R1 you can't access the toilets. The securities of the shop, they give us the numbers to go outside shoprite."

The new system was especially difficult for disbaled and chronic illness sufferers who had no access to medical care or special treatment when collecting their grants. One participant who was blind stated that her aid was not permitted to stand next to her in the line at Shoprite and she struggled to get management at the store to allow her aid to punch in her pin at the till and withdraw her money:

“I have to stand in line alone because friends aren’t allowed to help or accompany me [She is blind]. I doesn’t know my pin. I have a friend who keeps the card because I lose the card. Shoprite doesn’t always believe that I am blind and they won’t allow my friend to help me… The staff are rude and unhelpful.”[32]

Another participant who suffers from diabetes noted that because she waits for hours in line, she becomes faint from not having eaten. She stated that if she leaves the queue to eat or go to the toilet, she will not be allowed back in and will have to join the queue at the back. No medical staff are on duty to assist her or others if they should have a medical emergency.

Influence, Outcomes, and Effects

The research team of Prof Laurence Piper and research assistants Sondre Bailey and Robyn Pasensie have been in regular contact with Participedia via Jesi Carson and Scott Fletcher to develop the parent case and this case, to get both ready for publication on the Participedia website. This marks a novel use of cases on the platform by documenting cases in advance of and during their implementation. This research is piloting a new way of cataloguing and presenting information for Participedia.

Analysis and Lessons Learned

The key insight from the overall research project is that “the greatest cost of decommissioning is experienced on the bodies of rural, elderly grant recipients” in terms of costs, insecurity, and particularly indignities.[33] Comparatively, in Khayelitsha, “decommissioning has made little difference to accessing grants”.[34] However, costs did also increase by three times for urban participants as a result[35] and indignities were quite similar, especially in Khayelitsha where safety is a heightened concern.

For more analysis of the research findings, see the attached Black Sash research report.

See Also

Participatory Research on the Decommissioning of South African Social Services

River of Life

Body mapping

Black Sash

References

[1] Piper, L., Bailey, S., and Pasensie, R. 2019. "‘Like a blow to my body': The negative impact of the decommissioning of SASSA pay points on the bodies of rural, elderly social grant recipients in the Western Cape." SASSA Decommissioning Research Report for Black Sash.

[2] Parliamentary Monitoring Group. 2018. ‘SASSA progress report on Constitutional Court order, SASSA strike action’ Social Development Committee. 7 November 2018.

Maragele, B & Ngubane, N. ‘SASSA accused of shutting down cash points too soon’, GroundUp 28 August 2018. https://www.groundup.org.za/article/sassa-accused-shutting-down-cash-points-too-soon

[3] Parliamentary Monitoring Group. 2018. ‘SASSA progress report on Constitutional Court order, SASSA strike action’ Social Development Committee. 7 November 2018.

Maragele, B & Ngubane, N. ‘SASSA accused of shutting down cash points too soon’, GroundUp 28 August 2018. https://www.groundup.org.za/article/sassa-accused-shutting-down-cash-points-too-soon

[4] Black Sash. 2018. Graphs supplied on 5 December 2018

[5] ‘Khayelitsha Township.’ 2019. South African History Online. 18 April 2019 https://www.sahistory.org.za/place/khayelitsha-township; ‘City of Cape Town - 2011 Census Suburb Khayelitsha.’ 2013. Capetown Government Archive. https://web.archive.org/web/20150213190842/http://www.capetown.gov.za/en/stats/2011CensusSuburbs/2011_Census_CT_Suburb_Khayelitsha_Profile.pdf

[6] ‘City of Cape Town - 2011 Census Suburb Khayelitsha.’ 2013. Capetown Government Archive. https://web.archive.org/web/20150213190842/http://www.capetown.gov.za/en/stats/2011CensusSuburbs/2011_Census_CT_Suburb_Khayelitsha_Profile.pdf

[7] Saff, G. 1998. Changing Cape Town: Urban Dynamics, policy, and planning during the political transition in South Africa. University Press of America. https://books.google.ca/books/about/Changing_Cape_Town.html?id=AKlPAAAAMAAJ&redir_esc=y

[8] ‘City of Cape Town - 2011 Census Suburb Khayelitsha.’ 2013. Capetown Government Archive. https://web.archive.org/web/20150213190842/http://www.capetown.gov.za/en/stats/2011CensusSuburbs/2011_Census_CT_Suburb_Khayelitsha_Profile.pdf

[9] Sefali, P. and GroundUp staff. 16 October 2013. ‘Khayelitsha turns 30’. GroundUp. https://www.groundup.org.za/article/khayelitsha-turns-30/

[10] Muyebe, S. 2014. ‘Effects of Government Housing Subsidies in Khayelitsha, Cape Town’ Centre for Social Science Research. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/b55f/9ce3489a68605733c86a9fb427e3f5027374.pdf

[11] Statistics South Africa, ‘Census 2011,’ Accessed February 2, 2020, http://www.statssa.gov.za/?page_id=964

[12] Piper, L 2019. ‘Funding proposal: Trialling a new approach to case writing on Participedia x.y.z: Using participatory methods to research the decommissioning of SASSA pay points in South Africa’. 15 January 2019

[13] Piper, L. 2019. ‘Concept note: Researching the decommissioning of SASSA paypoints 2019 through participatory methods’. 15 January 2019

[14] ‘About the Black Sash’. 2017. Black Sash. https://www.blacksash.org.za/index.php/about-us/about-the-black-sash

[15] ‘SACLA Health project’. Black Sash Community-Based Monitoring. Accessed February 2, 2020. https://cbm.blacksash.org.za/partners/sacla-health-project

[16] ‘SACLA Health project’. Black Sash Community-Based Monitoring. Accessed February 2, 2020. https://cbm.blacksash.org.za/partners/sacla-health-project

[17] Piper, L., Bailey, S., and Pasensie, R. 2019. "‘Like a blow to my body': The negative impact of the decommissioning of SASSA pay points on the bodies of rural, elderly social grant recipients in the Western Cape."

[18] Piper, L., Bailey, S., and Pasensie, R. 2019. "‘Like a blow to my body'

[19] Piper, L., Bailey, S., and Pasensie, R. 2019. "‘Like a blow to my body'

[20] Piper, L., Bailey, S., and Pasensie, R. 2019. "‘Like a blow to my body'

[21] Piper, L., Bailey, S., and Pasensie, R. 2019. "‘Like a blow to my body'

[22] Fullana, J., Pallisera, M., Vila, M. ‘Advancing towards Inclusive Social Research. Visual Methods as opportunities for people with Severe Mental Illness to participate in research.’ Institute of Educational Research, University of Girona. Accessed 2 February 2020. https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/132556403.pdf

[23] Gastaldo, D., Magalhães, L., Carrasco, C., and Davy, C. 2012. ‘Body-Map Storytelling as Research: Methodological considerations for telling the stories of undocumented workers through body mapping.’ http://www.migrationhealth.ca/sites/default/files/Body-map_storytelling_as_reseach_HQ.pdf

[24] [25] [26] [27] [28] [29] [30] [31] [32] [33] [34] [35] Piper, L., Bailey, S., and Pasensie, R. 2019. "‘Like a blow to my body': The negative impact of the decommissioning of SASSA pay points on the bodies of rural, elderly social grant recipients in the Western Cape." SASSA Decommissioning Research Report for Black Sash.

External Links

Notes