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Social Development: Government Information: Library Guide: Government structure

A guide to finding government information for Social Development students.

Structure and functions of government

Public entities

These are the public entities that fall under the Department of Social Development. There are others relevant to social development.

South African Social Security Agency (SASSA)

"The mandate of the Agency is to ensure the provision of comprehensive social security services against vulnerability and poverty within the constitutional and legislative framework."

National Development Agency (NDA)

The NDA's mission is "To contribute to poverty eradication and the elimination of its causes."

Central Drug Authority (CDA)

"an advisory body in terms of the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act (Act No. 70 of 2008) and is mandated to assist in the fight against substance abuse in the country."

For other relevant public entities browse SA Government by Subject and the Government's Contact directory.

National government departments

Department of Social Development

formerly: Department of Welfare (1994-2000)

formerly: Department of National Health and Population Development (1985-1994); Administration: House of Assembly. Department of Health and Welfare (1984-1994); Administration: House of Delegates. Department of Health and Welfare (1984-1994); Administration: House of Representatives. Department of Health and Welfare (1984-1994)

formerly: Department of Health and Welfare (1982-1985)

formerly: Department of Health, Welfare and Pensions (1980-1981)

formerly: Department of Social Welfare and Pensions (1958-1980)

formerly: Department of Social Welfare (1937-1958)

formerly: Department of Labour and Social Welfare (1935-1937)

Before this social welfare was dealt with by the provinces and welfare organisations. Some aspects of child welfare were dealt with by the Department of Education.

Department of Women

formerly: Department of Women, Children and Persons with Disability. (2010-2014)

Before this issues relating to women, children and people with disabilities were dealt with by The Presidency. 

Other departments

Provincial government departments


The government departments and public entities publish annual reports, annual performance plans and strategic plans regularly. They also publish policy documents, guidelines, reports, plans, strategies, frameworks and information brochures. The annual reports contain financial information.

Performance management

South Africa. Public Service Commission. 2007. Guide on performance management for social development departments.