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Civil society and the right to have access to social security in South Africa


  • Naude Malan


This article examines transformation in South Africa's social security system from a human rights and civil society perspective. Three claims are made: rights can be realised by civil society organisations, civil society organisations can transform social security, and the realisation of social security rights by civil society organisations can give us a means to address many of the problems identified with the involvement of NGOs in development. The basis of this assessment is a performative conception of rights, derived from the Grootboom legal judgment, which would allow civil society action to address the problems inherent in the social security system in South Africa. An analysis is thus made of this kind of public action and it is shown how it can be subsumed under the 1996 South African Constitution, and how the Constitution could transform civil society organisations' social action. Civil society action, it is proposed, could be valuable in further reforming the South African social security system, and in realising rights as autonomous social action.

Suggested Citation

  • Naude Malan, 2005. "Civil society and the right to have access to social security in South Africa," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(4), pages 549-567.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:deveza:v:22:y:2005:i:4:p:549-567
    DOI: 10.1080/03768350500322776

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