Dictionary: S

Definitions for government terms, listed alphabetically.
Salary level - Government jobs are assessed and allocated to a salary level (also called a position). The salaries for each level are negotiated by the Public Service Bargaining Council. Job ads will list the level of the job being advertised.
San - The indigenous people of the Western Cape. They were hunter-gatherers and are also sometimes called Bushman.
Schedule - Appendix to a piece of legislation that contains detailed information not included in the legislation itself.
School governing body (SGB) - Elected group of teachers, parents and learners that make policy for their school and manage school issues such as budget and code of conduct.
School-readiness - Stage at which a child is deemed to be developmentally and intellectually prepared to start Grade 1.
Scorpions - The Directorate of Special Operations, this specialised policing unit can investigate and prosecute organised crime and corruption. It falls under the National Prosecuting Authority.
Section 21 companies - Non-profit organisations that are registered in terms of Section 21 of the Companies Act.
Sector - A group of organisations or businesses that work in the same field or area.

For example, Agriculture is a sector, so is Tourism.

Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) - Government body responsible for organising education and training programmes within a specific sector.

Each sector has its own SETA.

Senior Certificate - Previously called the matric certificate, this is the qualification received after a learner completes Grade 12.
Separation of powers - The split between the three branches of government, namely the legislature (that creates the law), the executive (that implements the law) and the judiciary (that enforces the law). The independence of each branch means that there are checks and balances which help guard against the abuse of power. It is a key element of democracy.
Serology - Medical study into serums; especially blood serums.
Servitude - A legal right to use land that belongs to someone else without paying rent.

For example, you can have a servitude that allows you to collect water from a dam on another person's property.

Shebeen - Local term for a tavern.
Site-and-Service - A housing policy that provided a plot of ground with basic services such as a water tap and sanitation.
Skills development levy - Amount paid by all employers to SARS. The Skills Development Fund is intended to be used for employee training and skills development.
Small Claims Court - A Court with quick, cheap and simple procedures which can handle civil cases (ie. non-criminal cases) involving up to R7,000.
Small, Micro and Medium Enterprises (SMME) - Businesses with fewer than 5 employees are often referred to as micro businesses. Those with 5 to 10 employees are regarded as small businesses, Businesses with 10 to 50 employees are seen as medium-sized businesses.
Social responsibility - A feeling of responsibility towards the community. In businesses it refers to an idea that businesses should contribute to the welfare of their communities, for example through bursary schemes.
Social Worker - A social worker is a person who is registered as a professional social worker in terms of the Social Work Act. They must have certain qualifications and training to do with social work, as they have many responsibilities with families and children.
Socio-economic rights - Also called second generation rights, these rights include the right to housing, the right to water and the right to an education. The state has a duty to provide access to these rights only in so far as its resources allow.
South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) - A public entity responsible for monitoring product standards in South Africa. For more information visit the SABS website.
South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA) - Public entity that is responsible for protecting and promoting South African heritage resources.

For more information, visit the SAHRA website.

South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) - Body created by the constituion to promote, protect and monitor human rights in South Africa.
South African Law Commission (SALC) - The Commission that researches areas requiring new laws or significant changes to the law. Through a public participation process, the SALC develops recommendations for new laws which can include draft legislation.
South African National Defence Force (SANDF) - The armed forces of South Africa, including the army, the navy and the airforce.
South African National Literacy Initiative (SANLI) - Volunteer initiative started by the Department of Education to increase literacy in South Africa.
South African Police Service (SAPS) - The national police service for South Africa. For more information visit the SAPS website.
South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) - Government body responsible for the National Qualifications Framework. For more information visit the SAQA website.
South African Revenue Service (SARS) - The government body responsible for collecting taxes and customs duties.
Spatial Development Initiatives - A co-ordinated effort to develop the potential of a particular area. It involves different Departments and can include national, provincial and local government.
Speaker - Member of parliament selected to preside over parliamentary sittings and debates. They are responsible for ensuring that the rules and procedures of parliament are followed.
Species diversity - A species is a group of plants or animals that are so similar that they can breed together and produce fertile offspring. Species diversity refers to the variety of species within a geographical area or ecosystem.
Spheres of government - Government consists of three spheres or levels. They are the national sphere, the provincial sphere and the local sphere.
Spoilt vote - Ballot paper that has been accidently or intentionally filled in incorrectly. This vote does not count.
Standing Committee - Permanent committee.

For example, the Joint Standing Committee on the Quality of Life and Status of Women is a permanent committee of the national parliament.

State - Government or country.
State Law Adviser - Parliamentary legal advisor who checks that new laws are properly drafted and are constitutional.
State prosecutor - The state lawyer who prosecutes the accused in a criminal case.
Station commander - The head police officer at a police station.
StatsSA - Statistics South Africa
Statutes - Laws passed by parliament. Also called Acts or Legislation.
Statutory body - Public entity that is created in terms of a piece of legislation.

For example, the Commission on Gender Equality is created by the Constitution.

Strategic planning - A planning process that includes identifying what the organisation wants to achieve (its vision, mission and objectives), how it will achieve these goals (the action plans) and how it will measure its success (verifiable indicators).
Strategy - Plan to achieve one's goals.
Study permit - Official document issued by Home Affairs to someone who want to study in South Africa. It is illegal to study here without this permit.
Sub-council - A Sub-council is part of the municipal council. It represents a number of wards clustered together and can make recommendations to the Council on matters affecting that area. It can also be given powers to perform duties relating to that area.
Submission - Verbal or written presentation on a specific matter.
Subpoena - An order requiring you to go to court to give evidence as a witness.
Subsidy - Money given by government to help an organisation or a person buy something.

For example, a housing subsidy is money that can be used to buy a house.

Subsistence agriculture - Growing food and raising livestock for your own survival. The crops and livestock are not sold for profit but are used to feed the family.
Summary dismissal - Termination of employment without notice.
Summons (civil) - A legal document demanding that money be paid to a particular party by a certain date or else a court hearing will take place.
Summons (criminal) - A legal document informing someone that they are required to appear in court on a certain date to stand trial for a crime that they have been accused of.
Supreme Court of Appeal - This court is the highest court for matters not relating to the Constitution. It hears appeals in cases that have already been decided in the High Court.
Swot analysis - An business tool which is used to assess the environment in which an organisation is working. It stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and is often used when developing a strategic plan.