Lynne Rienner Publishers Logo

Hands Off Our Grants: Defending the Constitutional Right to Social Protection

Black Sash
Hands Off Our Grants: Defending the Constitutional Right to Social Protection
ISBN: 978-1-928246-50-3
ISBN: 978-1-928246-56-5
2022/259 pages
Distributed for Best Red, an imprint of HSRC Press


In 2012, South Africa's social welfare system came under attack. Enormous sums of money were siphoned from South African Social Security Agency accounts—allegedly with the complicity of government officials—affecting the livelihoods of millions. But then, in what became a hugely successful grass-roots movement, the beneficiaries of the social grants mobilized behind Black Sash's Hands Off Our Grants (Hoog) campaign to reclaim their constitutional right to social security.

Hands Off Our Grants traces the unfolding of the Hoog campaign, showing how South Africa’s most vulnerable—poor, inadequately informed, some even illiterate—were able to defend themselves against exploitation and malpractice. Among the points emphasized in the book are the ongoing need to monitor the use and distribution of state resources, the importance of accountability on the part of political leadership, and the often overlooked power of social advocacy. 


Black Sash, a human rights organization, has been advocating for social justice in South Africa since 1955.


  • Foreword—Mary Burton.
  • Background to the Hoog Campaign.
  • The Experiences of Grant Beneficiaries.
  • The Ministerial Task Team.
  • The Hoog Campaign's Strategic Litigation.
  • The Net1 Business Model.
  • Tackling State Capture at Sassa.
  • Parliamentary Oversight of Sassa.
  • Black Sash's Advocacy Through Partnership.
  • Moving Ahead.