Balancing Financial Inclusion and Data Protection in South Africa: Black Sash Trust v Minister of Social Development

Authors Bronwyn Batchelor & Tinashe Wazvaremhaka

ISSN: 1996-2177
Affiliations: Lecturer, Department of Mercantile Law, University of Fort Hare; Public Prosecutor, National Prosecuting Authority, Zimbabwe
Source: South African Law Journal, Volume 136 Number 1, May 2019, p. 112 – 130


The participation of many underprivileged social clusters in the financial services sector has invariably been problematic in South Africa. This may be attributed to the country’s laws and policies implemented before and during the apartheid era to ensure the exclusion of the majority populations from key areas of the economy. This article discusses the linkage between protection of social grant beneficiaries’ private information and financial inclusion in light of the case of Black Sash Trust v Minister of Social Development 2017 (3) SA 335 (CC). The article advances the argument that effective participation of social grant beneficiaries in the financial services sector can be realized if personal data protection measures are taken seriously. Nonetheless, it also points out that targeted financial literacy mechanisms together with effective policy implementation within the department of social development are also vital mechanisms that are central to promoting financial inclusion of social grant beneficiaries. Additionally, the authors discuss the new social grant distribution vehicle and suggest that staff training in relation to data protection is key to ensuring the protection of social grants beneficiaries’ personal information. The article concludes by emphasising the need to balance financial inclusion and data protection measures in order to ensure safe and effective participation of vulnerable social grant beneficiaries in the South African financial services sector.