Reference : South Africa’s incomplete transition towards socio-economic justice: A case study on ...
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Law, criminology & political science : European & international law
Law / European Law
South Africa’s incomplete transition towards socio-economic justice: A case study on inequality and populism
Owiso, Owiso mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance (FDEF) > Law Research Unit >]
Boshoff, Elsabé mailto [> >]
[en] socio-economic rights ; South Africa ; inequality ; populism ; Apartheid ; transitional justice
[en] South Africa is currently one of the world’s most unequal countries, with massive income inequality, millions of people living in poverty without access to basic services and amenities, unemployment rates consistently above 20% and the top 10% of the population receiving two thirds of the total income. Government economic policies on poverty reduction in the decades since the advent of democracy in South Africa in 1994 have been unable to eradicate the extreme racialised inequality which was the basis of the 342 years of colonialism and apartheid which were characterised by systematic dispossession and socio-economic marginalisation of South Africa’s majority Black population and the systematic privileging of the minority White population. While this history is not the primary focus of this paper, it nonetheless provides useful context. The paper’s primary focus is on the more recent normative and legal challenges of post-1994 South Africa that have resulted in further entrenching socio-economic inequality and contributing to the rise of populism. In this paper we argue that the dire living conditions of a large proportion of the population and disillusionment with the State’s ability to deliver on its promises in this regard, along with the poor implementation of social and economic rights have led to the development of a populist culture in South African politics.
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