Social spending has become a major tool of targeting resources to South Africa’s poor. The poor now get considerably more than their population share of social spending, but the underlying distribution of income is so skewed that overall post-fiscal inequality has not improved much. Concentration ratios and curves show considerable shifts in social spending incidence in the period 1995 to 2006. However, the efficiency of that spending is low, resulting in limited social outcomes and consequently also limited gains to the poor from better targeting. This paper therefore calls for the South African policy discussion to shift to why the ever-increasing fiscal inputs and improved targeting of those inputs have not produced the desired social outcomes.