More to life than economics and livelihoods: The politics of social protection and social development in post-apartheid South Africa
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In the past fifteen years the South African government has consistently tried to address chronic and structural poverty, using a variety of policy and programmatic interventions with uneven success. But, as the latest Presidential review (2008) confirms, out of all attempts thus far, it appears that the social grant system, now reaching more than 12 million South African citizens, has made the greatest impact on income poverty reduction. While this achievement needs to be applauded as a measurable indicator of our government's political commitment to reduce poverty, it is also signals other realities. Firstly, that despite the state's intentions of becoming more 'developmental', South Africa appears to have evolved into a "quasi- welfare" state, with millions of its citizens dependent on social grants and a social wage for survival; and, secondly, that this tells us that something may be fundamentally wrong with the overall way in which we have approached improving the quality of life for all South African citizens, including the poor.
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