Social Employment Fund

Social Employment




As part of Government’s broader economic recovery agenda, the Presidential Employment Stimulus seeks to use direct public investment to support employment opportunities, counteracting job losses due to Covid-19, and creating an opportunity for growth and renewal.


The stimulus package now includes social employment, as part of its portfolio of interventions to create jobs and support livelihoods.


Closing Date: 8th December 2021

The Industrial Development Corporation invites relevant organisations that are interested in participating in the Social Employment Fund to submit bid proposals aligned to the requirements contained in the Terms of Reference.


Applications are encouraged, but not limited to, the following areas:


  • Placemaking, including informal settlement upgrading, urban agriculture, etc.
  • Health and care, including care of the vulnerable, antenatal care, etc.
  • Community safety and action against gender-based violence, including counseling for victims, support for refugees, etc.
  • Greening and the environment, including trees for townships, recycling, etc.
  • Food security and nutrition, including food gardens, food waste strategies with farmers, etc.
  • Education support, including ECD, after school care, computer clinics, community libraries, etc.
  • Community and public art, including activities at community art centres, etc.
  • Cross cutting/multi-disciplinary.
  • Other, including digitization and new ideas.


Proposals should cover the following:


  • Work that is proposed to be undertaken;
  • Fit with organizational core mandate and experience;
  • Social value of the work to be undertaken;
  • Partners and role players;
  • Geographic location and timeframes;
  • Scale of work to be undertaken and scale of outputs;
  • Target participants and selection criteria;
  • Planning and supervision of work;
  • Critical quality assurance indicators/minimum standards;
  • Skills training and transfer;
  • Improved livelihoods and/or employment opportunities for participants on exit


SIPs Briefing Session 24 November 2021

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the duration of the period for contracts between IDC and Strategic Implementing Partners (SIPs)?

At present, the funding allocation for the Social Employment Fund (SEF) allows for a nine month engagement. Discussions are in process to extend the funding, but this will only be confirmed as part of the national budget for 2022/23.


What is the difference between SIPs and Participants?

SIPs are applicants to the Social Employment Fund who wish to implement a Project in the social economy that creates social value and generates employment. Participants are workers hired by SIPs as part of these Projects.


What is a Worksite

A worksite is any location at which participants are undertaking work.


Who is eligible to be a Strategic Implementing Partner (SIPs)?

Any non-state organisation with a legally recognised form of registration is eligible. This includes for-profit companies, but they will face a higher level of scrutiny to ensure that the work undertaken serves the common good and that no part of the funding accrues to profits. The SIPs do not have to be non-profit organisations or civil society organisations – social enterprises registered as co-ops are also welcome to apply.


Who is an eligible Participant in the programme, what are the criteria?

Participants need to be job-seeking South African citizens or have confirmed refugee status entitling them to work. Participants cannot be concurrently enrolled on any other public employment programme, such as the Expanded Public Works Programme, the Community Work Programme or Youth Service. The participation of currently unpaid volunteers who are already undertaking meaningful community work is encouraged.


What is the age limit of Participants?

All working age adults (18 – 60 years) can participate. The inclusion of marginalised groups such as women, youth, and people with disabilities is encouraged, but there are no quota targets set.


How many participants can be employed by a SIP per bid? 

A bid needs to be for a minimum of 1000 participants, with the proposed participation target reached within the first quarter of implementation. This can be implemented by a number of organisations who come together in one bid, but a Strategic Implementing Partner is needed for contracting purposes.

There is no set maximum participants per bid, but take into account that the SEF budget allows for a total of 50,000 job opportunities nationally, and while there is no regional quota, the SEF will aim to ensure coverage in different regional contexts.


Can people who receive SASSA or other state grants participate?

People receiving the Child Support Grant can participate. However, people receiving the Social Relief of Distress Grant (‘the R350’) would become ineligible for that grant for the duration of their employment. People receiving the Old Age Pension, a full disability grant or NSFAS are also ineligible.


Are students enrolled in tertiary institutions eligible to be Participants? 



Why is the work part-time, and not full time?

Part-time work enables more people to participate on the programme within the same budget. Studies also show that a longer duration of part-time work has certain benefits relative to a short-term period of full-time work, when that is the choice. This is explained further in the Terms of Reference.


What is the wage rate?

Each participant will be paid at the hourly rate of the National Minimum Wage (R21.69). Allowances are made for hourly rates above the National Minimum Wage for technical and supervisory staff. These are limited per the Terms of Reference.


SEF provides an average of 2 days of work per week, can other days be cross-funded / co-financed by other organizations and companies to create a full week of work?

Yes, where this comes from donors or private companies. Unfortunately, the balance of days cannot be made up with another public employment programme like EPWP or CWP.  This is specifically excluded as part of the terms of SEF funding.


Is it possible to work a few hours per day across the week, instead of 2 full days a week?

The way the work is scheduled is up to the SIPs and what best serves the needs of the work undertaken. It could be for a few hours a day, or involve full-time work on weekends. It simply needs to average to 16 hours a week across the month.


Who is the employer of participants?

The SIP (or its partner organisations) are the employers of participants. This will be by agreement within the parties to the bid.  The employer will recruit, hire and – if necessary – fire participants, within the normal framework of labour legislation.


Who will pay UIF and COIDA (if applicable)?

The employer will register participants for UIF and COIDA. An allowance will be allocated from the SEF for this payment and SIPs must include  the estimated amount on their application.


What about participants who are not banked?

The SIPs will need to assist unbanked participants to become banked. All payments will be through bank accounts.


How often are wages paid?

Wages are paid monthly.


Can participants be paid while they are on training?

Yes, where the training is relevant to the work to be performed.


Who determines the type of work done by SEF participants?

The Strategic Implementing Partner (SIPs) will specify the work to be undertaken in their proposal. It must be ‘work for the common good’ as explained in the Terms of Reference.


Must the work be in one of the listed sectors?

The listed sectors are intended as a guideline to stimulate ideas. They are not intended to limit the options as long as the work is ‘for the common good’. The work undertaken can also be multi-sectoral. For example, in a given community, it might include food gardens, community kitchens and Early Childhood Development as part of an integrated strategy on child nutrition. Alternatively, the focus may be on one sector. The proposal might be to support victims of gender-based violence in small towns nationally.


Can organisations form partnerships or consortia?

Partnerships and consortia are encouraged. These might be within sectors or local areas. This can allow for the participation of organisations that would not be able to meet the compliance requirements on their own. These might be at local level, but a national consortium with regional and local partners could also submit a national application.   These partnerships must be governed by appropriate SLAs and MOUs.


How can the 20% non-wage budget be spent by SIPs?

Within reason, the spending of the 20% budget is at the discretion of the programme needs and organizations responsible for implementation, with this motivated as part of the application. This budget is categorised as follows:

  • Inventory comprising Tools (implements required to complete the programme such as spades), Materials (consumables such as seedlings, paint) and PPE (protective material)
  • Services comprising Technical services and Training
  • Programme Management
  • Other being spend not easily allocated into the above categories. This could include spend on a digital application which contributes directly to the programme.


How will this 20% non-wage budget be monitored by the IDC?

SIPs will be required to account for the 20% non-wage budget using the following workflow:

  • SIPs are expected to maintain their own financial records as well as have a robust accounting system in place.
  • SIPs must upload balances of actual spend per the above non-wage allocation on the Payment and Reporting Solution on a monthly basis at minimum


What is included in ‘programme management’?

These are the costs of managing the programme. They typically include inter alia costs of transport, IT costs and a contribution to overheads. In the bid process, applicants should specify what programme management costs will cover. It is a condition of funding that applicants are ‘going concerns’ as organisations and while the SEF expects to contribute to overhead costs that might arise as a result of the programme, it does not expect to cover the full overhead costs of organisations.


What if the SIPs applicant is also implementing a programme like CWP?

If there is a clear distinction between the programmes and no overlap of participants or funding, then this is allowable. It would be important to flag this in the application process, however, for transparency purposes and to enable agreement on the ‘rules of the game’ in such an instance.


Can one SIPs applicant apply for multiple programmes at the same time within the Presidential Employment Stimulus Package?

Yes, however, there cannot be duplication in implementation. If for example an organisation submitted bids to Youth Service and to SEF for the same programme, and was successful in each, the organisation would have to choose. The programmes within the Presidential Employment Stimulus will ensure no ‘double-dipping’ in this regard.


What measures are in place for preventing fraud and corruption within implementation, monitoring and evaluation?

The first line of defence in this regard is within the SIPs, which is expected to have systems in place that ensure effective reporting and accountability for the funding allocated and to ensure that processes of recruitment are fair and transparent, without nepotism or patronage.

The SEF Payment & Reporting Solution will also ensure accountability and verification of claims submitted. The central payments mechanism limits the risks of diversion of the funding for wages.

The ID numbers of all participants will be verified against Home Affairs, SASSA and other data-bases to ensure there are no ghost-workers, no government employees or other fraudulent participants.


How much of the budget can be used by SIPs for training?

SIPs need to build the costs of training into the 20% of the budget that is for non-wage costs. This does not easily allow for extensive, formal training. The focus in the programme is on ensuring that participants are capacitated to undertake the work at hand – and that the work itself provides meaningful work experience. This capacitation can include formal training, but it can also include on the job training. Partly, this is the rationale for including more skilled workers in the budget, because work teams that include more skilled workers can enable skills transfer. The budget for technical services can also be used to support capacitation. For example, an organisation might employ an agriculturalist whose role is to provide in-house capacitation and training.


How does the Payment & Reporting Solution work?

The Solution will be sourced by the IDC. It is envisioned to have both payment and reporting capabilities in one offering. The following is the in-principal flow for payments (subject to the finalization of the Solution tender process):

  • The Solution will be available on mobile devices
  • Participants will be required to have their Identification and Bank Account Confirmation paperwork on hand
  • SIPs must upload participants onto the Solution. Digital capture will be enforced as far as practicable to limit manual inputs.
  • The Solution will have time-at-work capabilities to track time-in-attendance. SIPs together with designated teamleaders must monitor this and record on the solution.
  • Weekly payment files and exception reports will be pushed to the SIPs to authenticate accuracy of data
  • At month-end, a consolidated payment file and exception reports will be pushed to the SIPs for authentication
  • These payment files and exception reports will be test-checked and interrogated by the IDC
  • A final consolidated payment file will then be shared with the IDC for release to the individual workers
  • Failed payments as a result of incorrect bank details and so forth will not hold up these payments but will have a separate workflow
  • Participants will receive an SMS confirmation of payment together with an electronic payslip


What monitoring capabilities will the Payment & Reporting Solution offer?

The Solution will have the following Activity monitoring capabilities (subject to the finalization of the Solution tender process):

  • SIPs will note the activities performed at a Worksite. These activities are linked directly to the programme outputs. For example, how many children were looked after by SEF participants at an ECD
  • The Solution will allow for the upload of photographs


How will Impact be measured?

Impact indicators are included in the TORs. As part of an application, SIPs need to consider how they will collect relevant data and report against these indicators. In addition, the IDC will be initiating impact-evaluation research to address various dimensions of impact, designed in consultation with SIPs and with an expectation of collaboration and support to such research, including access to participants and/or work-sites. The costs of such research will be carried by the IDC. SIPs will be expected to support and enable a digital entry, mid-term and exit survey of participants that will be developed and administered by the IDC, as part of measuring psycho-social impacts of the programme.


What are the reporting expectations of the SIPs?

  • Uploading and verifying participant performance information
  • Reporting on main work outputs undertaken, per worksite, against the project plan
  • Reporting of expenditure of non-wage components of the budget against the agreed budget categories


What is the application process for the SIPs applicant?

Allocations from the SEF are made using a competitive one-stage process. Applicants must visit and download the following forms:

  1. SEF Application Form
  2. SEF Budget Proposal
  3. KYC Checklist (Checklist to be uploaded)


The fully completed forms together with necessary supporting information must be submitted to


What is the adjudication process?

An account manager within the IDC will be responsible for reviewing applications and interrogating the application against the SEF TOR guidelines. If further information is required, this account manager will contact the applicant directly. Once satisfied with the compliance of an applicant, the account manager will submit the application pack to an IDC Adjudication Panel for discussion and approval.

Successful SIPs will be provided with legal contracts to close.


Must the SIPs have audited financials?

SIPs are required to submit audited financials. The IDC reserves the right to request and consider non-audited financials.


Is there a need for formal contracting / agreements between the (more) experienced partners and less formal partners? 

It depends on the types of roles and responsibilities being shared. Depending on how critical the role of such organisations are, it might become a condition of contract but this will be assessed on a case by case basis.If for example the less formal / grassroots organisations are going host participants, or play other critical roles in the work programme, it would be in the interests of the SIP to formalise what is expected from them in an MOA. If however their role is more of a consultative one, then formal agreements aren’t necessary. While the application is strengthened if grassroots organisations confirm their role, these arrangements can also be formalised and finalised in the planning phase once the SIP has confirmation of their appointment. 


Can State-owned companies apply?

State organisations may not be the Lead SIP. Funding from the SEF may also not flow to any state owned entity. State organisations are encouraged to be supportive partners in other ways. 


Will the digital tool allow for participants to work offline, or how will participants access the tool?

We are looking at building in this functionality. 


Is there a contradiction between innovation and having a track record?

We are looking at innovative ways of solving problems. The implementing agent may have relevant experience in working in a sector / area and may propose fresh ways of dealing with challenges in that space. A track-record of being solutions-oriented is what matters most.


How will participants access the digital tool

Participants do not need to access the digital tool. It is the responsibility of the SIPs to onboard and maintain participants on the tool.


In our education application we are planning to work with local government schools on implementation of the work. These schools will not be involved in the financial management or project management of the project, more as a project hosts. Do we need to list these as partners?

They do not have to be listed as formal partners to the bid, but the proposal should specify the schools where the activity is envisaged and some evidence that such schools would be willing to engage in this way.


Must all participants have cell phones and bank accounts?

Participants do not need cell phones. It is the responsibility of the SIP to maintain participants on the digital tool. All participants must have a bank account. 


Will SIPs get access to the data that the SEF collects 

Yes, the core reporting data will be in the public domain.


Can a lead organisation apply in more than one key focus area through multiple applications

There is nothing stopping an organisation from submitting multiple applications but they would need to consider whether this would be the strongest approach. They are unlikely to be successful in relation to more than one application.  We need to ensure the spread of funding amongst participants. 


Can partners go in on more than one bid with different SIPs an in effect hedge their bets to see which is successful? 

There is nothing technically stopping this but the relevant SIPs would be advised to consider whether this might not weaken their proposal. If the work proposed by the partner is duplication, one of the applications would fall away.


Is there any expectation that participants must be fully vaccinated against Covid?

The SIP as the employer must ensure that all relevant working regulations are being met. 


Must SIPs confirm participant’s unemployment status prior to joining

SIPs must first check that the participant meets all eligibility criteria. If participants are willing to work in the programme it suggests they do not have a better alternative. It is hard to ‘prove’ someone in unemployed. Self-selection is an adequate test. 


Will the SIPs be administering the payroll via a platform such as Pastel Payroll? Then the digital tool mentioned to be used for tracking purposes only?

The IDC will pay participants directly. The SIPs will use the digital tool provided by IDC to maintain time and attendance as well as payroll files. SIPs are expected to have the capacity to perform authentication and verification checks as needed by the digital tool for payroll. 


We have an enterprise development platform that would facilitate all of these transactions matching projects with participants, monitoring and reporting and banking are some of the other services. How do we propose to assist?

We have an RFQ out for our system at present. This tender closes on the 3rd of December. Refer to our website for further information.


Can we correct an application once it has been submitted? 

You may resubmit an application within the designated application window period provided you are in clear in the body of your email and the application form itself that this is a replacement. 


We’ve implemented the Community Work Programme (CWP) in the past. I’m picking up a lot of similarities, from the 16 hours of work a week to a deliberate broad definition of work contributing to the public good. Is my assumption accurate or is it more different than similar? 

There certainly are similarities. However, the CWP is an area-based programme in each municipality. SEF programmes can be area-based, but can also be sectoral. The SEF also places strong emphasis on partnerships with grassroots organisations and on the quality of the social value to be created.


Do work hours have to average 16 hours a week every month or could some months be more intensive than others, bearing in mind that some work happens within educational spaces, where there are holidays and exams which can result in different flows in different months?

It can vary across the months, where there is a reason for it.  However, it needs to take into account the intention of providing regular and predictable part-time work – and income. The work cannot, for example, all be back-loaded as full-time work in the last few months.


Is it better to have ‘geographic breadth’ (get as many geographic regions as you can in the country), or ‘depth’ (e.g., a well-organised set of partners from one region)?

Proposals will be assessed for the strength of their ‘offer’ against the criteria, whether they offer breadth or depth.


Is it better to have one strong focus area or is it more advantageous to touch on as many of the potential subject areas as possible?

Organisations need to focus on their own strengths. Some may have expertise in a given focal area. However, an integrated approach at a local level may also present a strong value proposition. What matters is the strength of the case for (a) meaningful work for participants and (b) social impact.

Is it better if you can provide more jobs aggregated in one bid or smaller more targeted?

This is a strategic decision for applicants, focussed on what will work best for you.


What are the timelines for onboarding the actual participants?

For the advanced-state-of-readiness SIPs who apply by 22 November, we are aiming to initiate onboarding in January on a relatively small scale to enable a test run of systems. The scale will be by agreement with the successful applicants.


For those who submit by 8 December, we are aiming to contract towards the end of January to allow a start in February. While the aim would be to start as early as possible in February, the contracting process can involve engagement between the parties and so these timelines are not fixed.


Onboarding of applicants can be phased in over the first quarter of the contract, at a rate that makes sense in your context. You may for example choose to ramp up each month to reach your total target or you may choose to use the first month for preparations and start onboarding in month two.


Is the 1000 participants cast in stone or can this be reviewed as per individual applicant needs?

It is a required minimum per application.


Is the IDC providing this system for SIPS to make use of or should the SIPS have this system?

The system will be made available to al successful applicants


The KYC (FICA) checklist is currently unavailable on your website?

We have had to hold off on uploading our KYC checklist to allow for a more seamless process given the vast variety of potential applicants. The KYC requirements will be the standard requirements when applying to an Accountable Institution such as the IDC. This includes registration documentation, tax compliance and so forth. Lead SIPs must meet these minimum requirements.


Those applicants who have been greenlit after our first round of internal reviews will be contacted for specific KYC information.


Please confirm that payment is made by SIPs directly to workers, rather than SIPs to NGO partners

Participants will be paid directly by the IDC.


Under what category does the art sector fall under as it only state public art programming which does not cover our entire sector? Are there preferred/priority sectors within the social economy that the fund will look at?

The thematic areas per our TOR are SUGGESTED areas for applicants. We understand that as on the ground organisations, you would understand this space really well and we are therefore looking to applicants to put forward ideas which solve societal challenges whilst embodying the spirit of the SEF.


For the 3-5 impact indicators in the TOR, is there a sense of best practice categories for the indicators that would feed into the broader initiative, e.g., 1 indicator for reach of beneficiaries, 1 indicator for a few core services etc. (understanding that each project would vary in detail of indicators depending on the organization’s focus)?

As part of your application, you are only expected to provide indicators for Impact Indicator 2. These are specifically related to how the social value of the work that will be undertaken will be measured. Other indicators will be finalised during the inception phase on a project by project basis. See page 9 of the TORs.


If training is a pre-requisite for the participants to be able to perform their duties, where does it sit in the budget: is it part of the 80/20%

Training costs are to be included as part of the service costs per the budget.


Organisation XYZ is applying as a lead applicant with specific expertise and partners in ECD and agriculture – but we have been approached by compliant NPOs in other sectors that can create jobs – how do we include them considering the area of work proposed is not a focus area of the Organisation XYZ?

Those other partners would need to provide the relevant expertise or Organisation XYZ would need to provide for this under technical services as part of the 20% non-wage budget.


Who is ‘advanced state of readiness’ SIP?

Those organisations who feel their proposals are ready by the 22nd of November 2021 and would be willing to be part of the initial system testing. These organisations must also demonstrate that they are ready to on-board participants and commence work programs in January 2022.


Will there be training for the System?

Yes, the system provider will provide training on system usage.  


Are there organisations which could weaken one’s application if they are too grassroots? It sounds like there are very tight requirements for even partners? Would you recommend only going with partners who themselves could be leads.

The lead SIP must meet the minimum standards set out in the TORs. All partners that are managing SEF funds will have to undergo a KYC assessment to verify that they are a legitimate organisation. This will only be undertaken for short-listed applicants.


Partnerships with grassroots organisations are strongly encouraged and are considered a strength within a proposal, but if such organisations are informal then their roles cannot include the management of SEF funds. This is a key role of the lead SIP and of other partners able to meet KYC requirements.


If as part of the assessment undertaken at short-listing stage, a subsidiary partner intended to manage funds does not meet KYC standards, it does not automatically invalidate the whole application. The IDC would engage with the lead SIP to look at how the role of this particular partner might be assumed by others in the partnership.


A key purpose of this fund is to strengthen partnerships with grassroots organisations, so the challenges in this regard are recognised.


Should there be no second phase to the SEF, beyond 2022, what happens?

Programmes will end after nine months. The IDC is very committed in making the SEF work and for it to achieve it’s intended purposes.

Application Forms