1963-2013 - 50 years of Research for Social Change

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Back | Project: New Directions in Social Policy: Alternatives from and for the Global South

NDSP: South Africa

  • Project from: 2013 to 2016

Social Policy Development in South Africa: A Shift towards a Redistributive Paradigm?, by Sophie Plagerson, Marianne Ulriksen, Leila Patel and Tessa Hochfeld

South Africa’s social policy making has been hampered by serious fiscal constraints and conflicting professional, organizational and sectoral interests. In addition, policy makers have had to contend with an historical legacy of extreme multidimensional poverty and inequality levels, fuelled by persistently high unemployment rates. The trajectory of social policy in South Africa appears to be at a crossroads as both redistributive and neoliberal economic objectives compete for influence. Is social policy in South Africa moving towards a more redistributive model, serving as a mere complement to primary economic goals, or is it taking a new direction?

The South Africa case study for the UNRISD project, "New Directions in Social Policy: Alternatives from and for the Global South" investigates cross-sectoral policy linkages, political economy and institutional factors, as well as social and economic outcomes to address whether we are seeing a transformative shift in South African social policy.