News & events

Press Releases

23 April 2019

HSRC publication to make a vital contribution to the national debate on poverty and inequality

Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)
Press Release

As part of the build-up to Freedom Day, the Minister of Science and Technology, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, together with the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), will launch the state-of-the-nation publication Poverty and Inequality – Diagnosis, Prognosis and Responses at the University of Pretoria on Wednesday, 24 April 2019.

Speaking ahead of the launch, the CEO of the HSRC, Prof. Crain Soudien, said, “It is important, ahead of the 25th commemoration of South Africa’s attainment of democracy, to address conceptual issues around poverty and inequality. 

“South Africa is now considered the most unequal country in the world,” Prof. Soudien continued. “In addition, the complexity of poverty and inequality in South Africa, and the multiple factors behind it, require that we develop explanations which account for its durability and persistence. These explanations must make clear, firstly, the multiple facets and interrelationships of poverty and inequality, and secondly, how, in their reach into the everyday experience of South Africans, they work.

“This book aims to delve into the complexity of the phenomena of poverty of inequality with a view to contributing to the formulation of effective policies,” Prof. Soudien concluded.

In the foreword to Poverty and Inequality, Alec Erwin, the former Minister of Public Enterprises, describes the publication as “a rich and timely contribution to a national reflection on the establishment and quality of our democratic nation state.” Erwin continues: “[W]e either learn from our recent experiences and pursue a process of nation building around a more humane and egalitarian society, or we continue to stumble and perpetuate the division so redolent in our history.”

In helping to shape and move the discussion on poverty and inequality forward, the authors of the different chapters of Poverty and Inequality seek, among other things, to address the question, “Is there a South African explanation of poverty and inequality that is distinct and different from an explanation of poverty and inequality that would be used in other contexts and countries?”

The launch of the publication coincides with the commemoration of the 50th and 90th anniversaries of the HSRC. In 1929, the HSRC was created to replace the Bureau for Educational and Social Research; and in 1969, the HSRC was officially established through an Act of Parliament.

The media are invited to attend the launch as follows:

Date:    Wednesday, 24 April 2019
Time    18:00
Venue    Senate Hall, University of Pretoria

Researchers are available for interviews. For more information, to RSVP, and/or to set up an interview, please contact Manusha Pillai at 082 389 3587 or

Issued by the Human Sciences Research Council and the Department of Science and Technology.

Related Press Releases