South Africa grapples with serious social and economic inequalities, including inequality in access to basic services. At a time of rising social tensions, the country’s institutions are in danger of losing the legitimacy they gained in the wake of democratic dispensations of the 1990s. This book presents the findings of five research projects that address these key areas in partnership with practitioners, which were presented at an international conference organised by the Hivos-ISS Knowledge Programme on Civil Society in November 2009 in Johannesburg.
Faced with these challenges, civic actors in South Africa form alliances at different levels, combining legal and non-legal strategies to try to address massive and growing disparities between rich and poor, as well as large-scale inequality and injustice. They aim to mobilise social justice through various and innovative means.
There are many dimensions to understanding the dynamics of civil society, the potential for civic actors to contribute to structural changes in unequal power relations, and the roles of external actors in supporting them. This book offers a collection of essays and conversations that focus on contemporary South Africa. Possibly, the analyses bear relevance for other contexts as well. Hardcopies of the book can be ordered through Pretoria University Law Press.