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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.
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Chapter 14: Current approaches to social protection in the Republic of South Africa

Letlhokwa George Mpedi

Extract

South Africa’s sad history of colonialism, racism, apartheid, sexism and oppressive labour practices is largely to be blamed for the majority of the social and economic woes experienced in that country today. These challenges, which include poverty and inequality as well as high unemployment, were identified in a number of policy documents developed by the post-apartheid government (see Ministry in the Office of the President, 1994; Department of Welfare and Population Development, 1997; Taylor Committee, 2002). In addition, proposals were made on how to rid South Africa of such challenges. With this background in mind, this chapter seeks to analyse the current approaches to social protection in South Africa. It commences by providing an overview of the South African social protection system. It proceeds by discussing the existent social protection approaches in South Africa with a particular focus on key groups of vulnerable persons such as children and old people, as well as labour market challenges (for example, employment, unemployment and low pay), poverty, income inequality and gender issues. This is followed by some concluding observations.

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