South Africa’s welfare state expansion is said to be one of the leading ‘social democratic’ achievements of the post-apartheid era. However, overwhelmingly tokenistic features – including a neoliberal (fiscally-austere) context, the extension (not transformation) of apartheid’s inheritance, and commercialisation of state services – mean the deeper crises of society and economy are not being addressed effectively by the state. This is evident in the foundational approach to social policy, and in the funding associated with the Child Support Grant, the Older Person’s Grant and various other specific programmes. In contrast, alternative strategies of decommodification are being pursued by civil society activists, although transformative macro-economic policy and a new political coalition – perhaps the ‘United Front’ called by the metalworkers union – are prerequisites for the ‘nonreformist reforms’ needed.


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pp. 48-77
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