Social Protection, Economic Growth and Social Change

Social Protection, Economic Growth and Social Change

Goals, Issues and Trajectories in China, India, Brazil and South Africa

Edited by James Midgley and David Piachaud

This highly original and thought-provoking book examines the recent expansion of social protection in China, India, Brazil and South Africa – four countries experiencing rapid economic growth and social change.

Chapter 13: Social protection in South Africa: history, goals and strategies

Leila Patel

Subjects: development studies, development economics, development studies, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, economics of social policy, social policy in emerging countries

Extract

The post-apartheid government inherited a society faced with mass poverty, inequality and underdevelopment which coincided with race, class, gender and place. Social protection policies together with other social and economic development strategies were devised to address the legacy of the country’s past. The welfare system was significantly redesigned. The new system built on aspects of past policies that reflected the country’s vision and values while simultaneously devising and implementing new policies to promote reconstruction and development of society. Social protection policies captured the aspirations and ideals of a future society featuring notions of reconciliation, redress, the creation of an inclusive, just, stable and caring society. Thus, a rights-based approach with a strong emphasis on redistribution and the building of human capabilities to improve the life chances of citizens featured prominently in social policy goals. Significant progress has been made in the development and implementation of social protection strategies and particularly in the expansion of non-contributory social assistance for the poor and vulnerable groups. However, gaps exist in mandatory contributory social protection provision.

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