News & events


Towards a Decent Standard of Living: The challenge of translating socially-derived standards of living into Rands

06 February 2017
10:45 - 13:30

Date: 06 February 2017  | Time:  10h45 – 13h30  | Venues: Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town 

Presenters: Isobel Frye (SPII), Gemma Wright, Wanga Zembe and Christine Byaruhanga (SASPRI) and Matt Padley (Loughborough University)

Chair: Michael Noble (SASPRI and HSRC) in Cape Town

What level of income is needed these days in order to get by, or better still in order to have a decent standard of living?  South Africa is moving in a positive direction towards implementing a national minimum wage, but there is concern about whether it will be sufficient to enable people to cover their costs of living. The amount required for an adequate diet is calculated by Statistics South Africa, but the costs of other aspects of life are less well established. This seminar comprises a series of short presentations with opportunity for discussions. The presentations will comprise: (1) recent findings on the incomes of those who do enjoy a socially-derived decent standard of living in South Africa, and the challenge of how to cost out such a standard of living in order to engage with debates on the adequacy of wages, social security and the social wage; (2) current work in the UK on the Minimum Income Standards (MIS) approach to costing out a decent standard of living, and how this work has been used to inform policy; (3) findings from a pilot of the MIS approach in South Africa; (4) insights from a parallel pilot of the MIS approach in Mexico. The seminar will conclude by identifying pragmatic steps towards costing out a decent standard of living, followed by discussion about the opportunities this will present for sharpening debates about thresholds of adequacy.

The HSRC seminar series is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST). The views and opinions expressed therein  as well as findings and statements of the seminar series do not necessarily represent the views of DST.

All presentations are available for download below:

Kindly RSVP by 02 February 2017

Cape Town : HSRC, 116-118 Merchant House, Buitengracht Street, Cape Town. Contact: Carmen August ,Tel (021) 4668004, Fax (021) 461 0299 or e-mail:

Durban :  The Atrium, 5th Floor, 430 Peter Mokaba Ridge, Berea, 4001 , Contact: Ridhwaan Khan, Tel (031) 242 5400, cell: 083 788 2786 or email: , or Hlengiwe Zulu at e-mail

Pretoria :
HSRC Video Conference, 1st floor HSRC Library Human Sciences Research Council, 134 Pretorius Street, Pretoria. Arlene Grossberg, Tel: (012) 302 2811 or e-mail: or  Valerie Fichardt, Tel: (012) 302 2429 or  e-mail: