The gendered character of welfare: Reconsidering vulnerability and violence in South Africa


This paper considers the ANC government’s approach to welfare and, in particular, its de facto rejection of a Universal Basic Income Grant. In the first part of this essay we argue that the current welfare model in SA is underpinned by a naive conception of the South African economy as potentially fast-growing and labour absorbing across all skills types. In the second part of this essay, we consider the gendered character of welfare and of unemployment arguing that under current conditions young men are effectively excluded from social protection. We propose that this situation interrupts the transition to male adulthood and fuels violence against women and children. We conclude by proposing that a Universal Basic Income Grant is necessary under conditions of mass, structural unemployment and widespread ‘waithood’.

The content of this report was adapted and published in 2021 in volume 47 of Social Dynamics. To access the article, click on this link.

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