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South African social security under apartheid and beyond

  • Servaas van der Berg

Under apartheid, the trappings of a welfare state for whites were created. Over time, social security was gradually extended to other groups, and recently social assistance benefits were equalised. This left South Africa with high social security levels for a middle-income developing country. However, the social security system still largely reflects the historical needs of vulnerable white groups under apartheid, among whom unemployment was minimal, given their preferential access to jobs and education. Thus the social security system now has inadequate provision for the most vulnerable, the unemployed. In contrast, four out of five pensioners receive a means-tested social pension — a major poverty-alleviating factor in rural black communities. This article analyses the social security system against the backdrop of apartheid and the more recent democratisation, and assesses its major deficiencies, the forces acting for its expansion and the binding fiscal constraint.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Development Southern Africa.

Volume (Year): 14 (1997)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 481-503

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Handle: RePEc:taf:deveza:v:14:y:1997:i:4:p:481-503
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