South Africa: Reflections on Establishing a Welfare State

  • Albert J. Venter


The purpose of this chapter is to reflect on the advances made towards, and the possibility of, establishing a welfare state in South Africa. The emphasis is on reflection, contemplation and debate. It is not merely an empirical checklist – that is that there is a list of indicators of a welfare state and whether South Africa meets or does not meet the criteria for a ‘welfare state’. It is time that South African intellectuals engage with this debate, instead of merely swallowing hook, line and sinker the liberal orthodoxy that the welfare state is on its way out and that the minimal state is ‘in’. This essay is an effort to stimulate debate on this matter and is therefore in the final analysis not specifically prescriptive on the question whether the South African economy should be managed towards a welfare state of some kind. Rather it reflects on the question whether social forces and structural circumstances will usher in a welfare state in South Africa in the course of the development of its political economy.


Welfare State Public Debt Social Expenditure Social Solidarity Social Spending 
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Copyright information

© Albert J. Venter 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Albert J. Venter
    • 1
  1. 1.Rand Afrikaans UniversityJohannesburgSouth Africa

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