Poverty, Inequality and Unemployment in South Africa: Context, Issues and the Way Forward


Michael Chibba, PO Box 1379, Station ‘K’, Toronto, ON M4P 3J4, Canada. Email: mchibba_cidc@bell.net


The purpose of this article is to present a concise policy review of poverty, inequality and unemployment (PIU) in South Africa and to draw lessons for current and future action. South Africa is of particular interest given its history of racial estates which has entrenched high levels of poverty, structural inequality and structural unemployment. As such, this article is organised as follows. An introduction is followed by an outline of the overarching nature of PIU issues. Next, the key policies in the post-apartheid period to tackle PIU problems are highlighted. Finally, the way forward is proposed with respect to: (i) the range of policy weaknesses identified and the fundamental need to reorient policy in an eclectic and innovative manner to address past failures; (ii) ensuring that PIU are tackled head-on; and (iii) supporting and pursuing the use of both the emerging new economics and alternative models of development. These findings have practical implications for planning, policy-making and programming and a six-step procedure for planning and implementation is proposed.