National Department of Social Development


The Department of Social Development has a mandate to provide social assistance, and administer resultant social assistance appeals from the beneficiaries and applicants. It therefore established the Independent Tribunal for Social Assistance Appeals (ITSAA). This body’s role is to consider and make determination on social assistance appeals lodged by social grant applicants and beneficiaries. ITSAA however had a problem in capturing, tracking and processing these social assistance applications for appeals and had a backlog of almost 82 000 appeals. This was firstly due to a lack of a digital forms completion, transfer and processing system which resulted in delays in receiving forms from the various provincial offices and points of entry. Further to this, there was a lack of a management information system to allow for the storage, processing and reporting of social assistance appeals.


Xcallibre implemented its cutting edge digital pen and paper solution to be used as an input tool for the completion, capture and transfer of the various appeals forms from the field. Further to this Xcallibre supplied a central browser based appeals application processing solution and database for use by the department, to track, capture, store and report on appeal applications. The solution also allowed for relevant documents to be attached electronically to the appeal and thereby creating an electronic filing system for the department.

This technology allows users to continue with their familiar completion of forms with pen and paper while also requiring fewer computer terminals and minimal training of staff. Further to this facilities with limited connectivity, or computer and system issues still have paper backups available and can continue with business activities.

John Mokoele, Director for Appeals Compliance and Support Services in the National Department of Social Development said that “the adoption of the Digital Pen & Paper Technology has helped us to improve our records management in respect of appeals for social grants. We are now able to trace the files and records of appellants with details of when and where the appeal was received. The pen also assists us to track the status of the appeals to be able to respond to queries if appellants ask about the progress. This assists us to improve our turnaround time and manage it accordingly. Our turnaround time is 90 days and every day that passes the system is able to indicate how many days are left prior to reaching the due date. This ensures that if few days remain, the matter is expedited to avoid going beyond the time limit.

The system is fairly new to us but we are already seeing positive outputs and we know that as we progress in using the system, a lot of improvements would be realized in our administration of social assistance appeals. Also very important is the workflow that has been built into the system which allows management to draw pull out various reports at any given time. This system also allows us to identify duplicate appeals immediately in order to avoid any discrepancies.”


  • Real-time forms transfer & processing of all appeals
  • All appeal forms, once completed are sent from the provinces via their mobile phones into a web interface.
  • The data is then validated by an editor and they also attach any supporting documents that may be used to validate the appeal
  • Consolidated national database.
  • Duplicate appeals can easily be picked up
  • Built in workflow – management can easily identify bottlenecks in the system and can act decisively
  • Workflow designed to leave an audit trail
  • Every step in the workflow is protected by usernames and passwords
  • Pre – defined reports
  • No additional admin resources required for data capturing
  • No need for scanning, fax or postage of forms
  • Quicker turnaround times to appellants and beneficiaries
  • Reduction in phone calls to verify information from provinces
  • Greater efficiency – a simplified approach achieving optimum results
  • Easily creates an electronic file that can be accessed via the web interface