Reforming the South African Social Security Adjudication System: innovative experiences from South African Non-Social Security Jurisdictions
There is currently no uniform social security dispute resolution system in South Africa due to the piecemeal fashion in which schemes were established or protection against individual risks regulated. The result is that each statute provides for its own dispute resolution institution(s) and processes. There are also various gaps and challenges in the current social security dispute resolution systems, some of these relating to the uncoordinated and fragmented nature of the system; inaccessibility of some social security institutions; inappropriateness of some current appeal institutions; the lack of a systematic approach in establishing appeal institutions; a limited scope of jurisdiction and powers of adjudication institutions; inconsistencies in review and/or appeal provisions in various laws; an unavailability of alternative dispute resolution procedures; and an absence of institutional independence of adjudication institutions or forums. The system is therefore in need of reform. In developing an appropriate system, much can be learned from innovative experiences in comparative South African non-social security jurisdictions on the establishment of effective and efficient dispute resolution frameworks. Dispute resolution systems in the labour relations, business competition regulation and consumer protection jurisdictions have been established to realise the constitutional rights of their users (especially the rights of access to justice, to a fair trial and to just administrative action). They thus provide a benchmark for the development of the South African social security dispute resolution system.
Keywords: Access to justice; social security; adjudication; dispute resolution; review; reconsideration; appeal; hearing; jurisdiction; fairness