Vivienne Bozalek, Neil Henderson, Wesley Lambert, Kathy Collins, Sulina Green


At the time of South Africa’s transition to a constitutional democracy in 1994 the African National Congress (ANC) government inherited a deeply divided racially-based social welfare service system. Accordingly, the first priority of the newly elected government was to develop social policies to address the inequalities resulting from the apartheid period and to redirect resources to previously disadvantaged groups, especially black South Africans, since the white community had been the main beneficiaries of specialised professional services and institutional care (Bozalek, 1999; Follentine, 2004; Orner, 2003; Sevenhuijsen, Bozalek, Gouws & Minnaar-McDonald, 2003a; Republic of South Africa, 1997). The ANC’s election manifesto, its Reconstruction and Development (RDP) policy, had committed the government to a number of strategies to meet people’s basic needs and to alleviate poverty and inequality, among them were employment creation; a living wage for all citizens; the democratisation of state structures; housing provision; and land redistribution (Republic of South Africa, 1994). The Constitution reinforced these commitments in its recognition of socio-economic rights, including the rights to adequate housing, health care, food, water, education and social security. The Human Rights Commission and other independent bodies, such as the Gender Commission, were set up by the Constitution to monitor human rights violations. There were expectations that social services would deliver on the social and economic rights outlined in the South African Constitution (1996) within the available resource constraints (Republic of South Africa, 2006).

Full Text:



AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS. 1994. The Reconstruction and Development Programme: A Policy Framework. Johannesburg: Umanyano Publications.

ALIBER, M. 2001. Study of the incidence and nature of chronic poverty and development policy in South Africa: An overview. Background Paper No. 3. Chronic Poverty Research Centre. University of the Western Cape, Programme for Land and Agrarian Studies.

BANKS, S. 2006. Ethics and values in social work. Basingstoke, Palgrave: Macmillan.

BOZALEK, V. 1999. Contextualising caring in black South African families. Social Politics, International Studies in Gender, State and Society, 43:85-99.

DE SWARDT, C. 2001. Unravelling chronic poverty in South Africa: Some food for thought. Background Paper No. 3. Chronic Poverty Research Centre. University of the Western Cape, Programme for Land and Agrarian Studies.

FISHER, B. & TRONTO, J. 1990. Towards a feminist theory of caring. In: ABEL, E.K. & NELSON, M.K. (eds) Circles of care: Work and identity in women’s lives. Albany: State University of New York Press.

FOLLENTINE, S. 2004. Towards a common conceptual understanding of developmental social welfare and its implications for practice. Paper presented at the National Conference for Social Service Practitioners. Dialogue across Disciplines: Partnerships in Development. Pretoria, South African Council for Social Service Professions.

FRASER, N. 1989. Unruly practices: Power, discourse and gender in contemporary social theory. Oxford: Polity Press.

HEALY, K. 2005. Social work theories in context: Creating frameworks for practice. Basingstoke, Palgrave: Macmillan.

LUND COMMITTEE. 1996. Report of the Lund Committee on Child and Family Support. Pretoria: Government Printers.

MAY, J. 2003. Chronic poverty and older people in South Africa. Chronic Poverty Research Centre Working Paper. No 25.

ORNER, P. 2003. Race, gender and socioeconomic differentials in Social Welfare Policy: A case study of restructuring of the Social Maintenance Grant in South Africa. Social Work Practitioner-Researcher, 15(2):172-190.

REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA. 1996. Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. Act 108 of 1996. Pretoria: Government Printers.

REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA. 1997. White Paper on Transforming Public Service Delivery. Government Gazette No. 1834. Pretoria: Government Printers.

REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA. 1999. Financing Policy: Developmental Social Welfare Services. 26 March, No. 19888. Pretoria: Government Printers.

REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA, NATIONAL DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT. 2004. Policy on Financial Awards to Service Providers. Pretoria: Government Printers.

REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA. 2006. Integrated Service Delivery Model: Towards Improved Social Services. Pretoria: Department of Social Development.

SEVENHUIJSEN, S. 1998. Citizenship and the ethics of care. Feminist considerations on justice, morality and politics. London and New York: Routledge.

SEVENHUIJSEN, S., BOZALEK, V., GOUWS, A. & MINNAAR-McDONALD, M. 2003a. South African Social Welfare Policy: An Analysis of the Ethic of Care. Critical Social Policy, 23(3):299-321.

SEVENHUIJSEN, S. & SVAB, A. (eds) 2003b. Labyrinths of care: The relevance of the ethics of care perspective for social policy. Ljubljana, Peace Institute.

SEWPAUL, V. & HÖLSCHER, D. 2004. Social work in times of Neoliberalism: A postmodern discourse. Pretoria: Van Schaik Publishers.

STREAK, J. & POGGENPOEL, S. 2005. Towards Social Welfare Services for All Vulnerable Children in South Africa: A Review of Policy Development, Budgeting and Service Delivery. Occasional Papers. Children’s Budget Unit. Budget Information Service. Cape Town, Idasa.

Taylor Committee (2002). Transforming the Present, Protecting the Future: Report of the Committee of Inquiry into a Comprehensive System of Social Security for South Africa. Pretoria, Government Printer.

TRONTO, J. 1993. Moral boundaries: A political argument for an ethic of care. New York & London: Routledge.

TRONTO, J. 1994. What’s wrong with the work ethic. Unpublished paper presented to the Yale University Program in Politics, Economics and Philosophy.

TRONTO, J., FISHER, B. 1990. Toward a feminist theory of caring. In: ABEL, E. & NELSON, M. (eds) Circles of care: Work and identity in women’s lives. Albany: University of New York Press.

VAN EEDEN E., RYKE E. & DE NECKER, I. 2000. The welfare function of the South African Government before and after Apartheid. Social Work/Maatskaplike Werk, 36(1):1-24.

ZEGEYE, A. & MAXTED, J. 2003. Our dream deferred: The poor in South Africa. Michigan: Michigan State University Press.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

ISSN 2312-7198  (online) ; ISSN 0037-8054 (print)

Powered by OJS and hosted by Stellenbosch University Library and Information Service since 2014.


This journal is hosted by the SU LIS on request of the journal owner/editor. The SU LIS takes no responsibility for the content published within this journal, and disclaim all liability arising out of the use of or inability to use the information contained herein. We assume no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any breaches of agreement with other publishers/hosts.

SUNJournals Help