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In search of the good society: Social policy in South Africa after twenty years of democracy

15 May 2014
12:15 - 13:30

Speaker: Ndangwa Noyoo , Associate Professor, Department of Social Work, University of Johannesburg

Venues in Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town (Videoconferencing facilities: see below)

Date: 15 May 2014

Time: 12H15 for 12h30  – 13H30  





South Africa’s liberation struggle was not only about securing political freedom and civil liberties for its entire people, but it was one that had sought to create another society, namely, the good society.

The South African Native National Congress (SANNC), which was reconstituted later into the African National Congress (ANC), was formed in order to challenge colonial domination and oppression on this premise. After the alienation of the land of the indigenous peoples by an occupying settler population via the Native Land Act of 19 June 1913, organised resistance against colonialism would forever change the political landscape of South Africa.

Given the foregoing, this seminar examines social policy in South Africa, after twenty years of democracy, by calling for the reification of social policy’s key mission of helping to create the good society. The seminar paper argues that in fact, this approach resonates with the ANC’s trajectory throughout the liberation struggle. Arguably, all the centre-piece documents of the ANC, notably: African Claims, 1943; The Women’s Charter, 1954; Freedom Charter, 1955; Ready to Govern: ANC policy guidelines for a democratic South Africa, 1992; and the Reconstruction and Development (RDP)base document, had all envisaged an end state in South Africa, viz: the good society.

Arguably, after 1994, this tradition somewhat waned, with social policy following a more technocratic and bureaucratic route which responded to human needs but did not seek to create the good society. Also, over the years, social policy became a palliative for economic and labour-market failure.   

Kindly RSVP by 12 May 2014

Cape Town : HSRC, 12th Floor, Plein Park Building (Opposite Revenue Office), Plein Street, Cape Town. Contact Jean Witten, Tel (021) 4668004, Fax (021) 461 0299, or
Durban :  First floor HSRC board room, 750 Francois Road, Ntuthuko Junction, Pods 5 and 6, Cato Manor, Contact Ridhwaan Khan, Tel (031) 242 5400, cell: 083 788 2786 or
Pretoria : HSRC Video Conference, 1st floor HSRC Library Human Sciences Research Council, 134 Pretorius Street, Pretoria. Arlene Grossberg, Tel: (012) 302 2811, e-mail: