n Journal of Public Administration - Social policy in post-apartheid South Africa

Volume 54 Number 4
  • ISSN : 0036-0767


The article examines the interface between research and policy, focusing on social policy in South Africa since 1994. As the article demonstrates, social policy is critical for development - and it is argued that inclusive development is more likely to occur when both social and economic policies are pursued jointly. In other words, social policy would be more effective if implemented in tandem with economic policy. The article also analyses the relationship between social policy and development. It is argued that, for South Africa, efforts towards a comprehensive social policy seem to have dwindled after the recall of former President Thabo Mbeki and this negatively affected socio-economic development. However, even during the Thabo Mbeki administration, social policy was not comprehensive. For instance, social policy seemed to mainly address social questions and not the national question. Also, the interface between research and (social) policy has not been effective of late. It is in this context that the article proposes what could be done to ensure a comprehensive social policy in South Africa - the starting point should be revisiting comprehensive social security reforms that were stalled with the recall of Thabo Mbeki. Policy coordination and policy thinking should also be further strengthened.

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