MOST governments in Southern Africa lack the political will to implement social protection cover for their citizens, regional social security experts have said.
By Feluna Nleya
The issue came out during a regional workshop held in South Africa last week where experts noted that most citizens in the region did not have adequate cover for health care, income security for children, assistance for the unemployed and poor, and income security for the elderly and persons with disabilities as governments were reluctant to enforce the policies.
University of Johannesburg law expert George Mpedi said the region was facing challenges in embracing social security as they prioritised other issues citing human resource challenges.
“The problem in the Sadc region is that social protection systems are either undeveloped or underdeveloped,” Mpedi said.
“Unemployment, for example, is one of the schemes that are widely not covered in Sadc and in some instances we see lack of political will in the extension of social security coverage where people hide behind the lack of sufficient resources.”
Mpedi added: “It’s also a matter of prioritising, if we invest a lot of money in arms we might as well invest money in people’s lives by providing for poverty alleviation measures. If we build unnecessary buildings, if there is corruption and fraud and wasteful expenditure, then really ask yourself that shouldn’t government have used this in a more meaningful way.”
The experts said most people in the informal sector of the Sadc region were not covered.