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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Deserving individuals and groups: the post-apartheid State's justification of the shape of South Africa's system of social assistance
Author:Seekings, JeremyISNI
Periodical:Transformation: Critical Perspectives on Southern Africa
Geographic term:South Africa
Subject:social security
External link:http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/transformation/v068/68.1seekings.pdf
Abstract:The Constitution of South Africa charges the government with the progressive realization of the right of impoverished citizens to income security. In practice, this means that the government must have a reasonable defence of the current size and shape of its social assistance and social insurance programmes. Legal challenges have forced the State into providing such a defence of its social assistance programmes. In summary, the State justifies the current size and shape of this system primarily on the grounds that the State is targeting its scarce resources on the most 'disadvantaged' groups, where disadvantage is defined in terms of past opportunity, not of current need. In this view, the social assistance system should help those groups of people who had fewest opportunities to provide for themselves. This argument entails a new version of the distinction between 'deserving' and 'undeserving' poor. The State's application of this argument in recent court papers is flawed empirically, but in making the argument the State has provided a basis for constructive debate on the shape of the welfare State. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]