Paths to Social Justice in South Africa – a Critical Examination.

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 10:45
Location: Hörsaal 34 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Mokong Simon MAPADIMENG, University of Limpopo, South Africa
Jayanathan GOVENDER, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa
Social justice as a concept and an ideal has been a subject of intense debate and analysis which culminated in some wider consensus on what social justice entails i.e. equality of rights (social, political, cultural and economic rights) whereby all members of the society enjoy equitable access to resources and opportunities in order to live fulfilling lives. Within the South African context, the anti-apartheid and liberation movement pioneered the struggle for social justice in a society that was racially divided and marked by socio-economic and political inequalities that took race-class form. The end of apartheid thus witnessed new efforts by the state, through both policy and legislation, to bring redress to these historical racially-defined injustices and inequalities. While these efforts brought some visible progressive changes towards redress, they however also had unintended consequences. They led to new forms of inequalities compounded by a syndrome best described as the impact of the past on the present attributed largely to apartheid legacies. This was met with new forms of resistance and mobilisation for social justice led by civil society-based social movements. This paper examines the effectiveness of these divergent efforts at bringing social justice by the state on the one hand, and civil society-based social movements, on the other.