Social Justice and Advocacy: National Context

  • South Africa has the highest wage inequality among the 64 countries considered in the Global Wage Report 2018/19. The report found that the country has a Gini coefficient for wage inequality of 0.63 (zero expresses perfect equality and 1 expresses maximum inequality). The report also found that globally women earn 20% less than men.

  • According to the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity Group’s latest affordability index, more than half of the South African population (55%) lives below the upper-bound poverty line (R1 227 per month in 2019) and a quarter live below the food poverty line (R561 per month in 2019). The median wage in South Africa is R3 300 and each wage supports 3.5 people, which works out to R930 per person, per month.

  • The Commission for Employment Equity’s 2018 annual report detailed that top management positions in the private sector were still dominated by white males, at 56%. This figure climbed to 80% in sectors like agriculture. The same report found that women held just 33% of top management positions in the public sector.

  • Corruption Watch’s latest Analysis of Corruption Trends Report revealed that reports of police corruption had overtaken those related to schools, health services and local government.

Guidelines for Effective Funding in Social Justice and Advocacy

  • Effecting policy changes and shifting mindsets is long-term work. Therefore, companies investing in social justice and advocacy must be prepared to commit to longer partnerships with implementing non-profit organisations, in order for outcomes to be seen or felt.

  • Funding core programmes, instead of narrow projects, will help to ensure that advocacy organisations have skilled staff, as well as the necessary resources to drive and sustain work over time.

  • Social justice advocacy addresses the power dynamics within races, gender and class, which can be divisive. Non-profit organisations that work in this space can prove invaluable partners for companies wanting to confront how these issues of historical inequity can impact business operations.

National Directives for Social Justice and Advocacy

National Development Plan, 2012

This strategic framework, which is applicable to all development sectors, aims to eliminate poverty and
reduce inequality in South Africa by 2030, by drawing on the energies of its people, growing an inclusive
economy, building capabilities, enhancing the capacity of the state, and promoting leadership and
partnerships throughout society.

Public Participation Framework for the South African Legislative Sector, 2013

This legal framework sees the promotion of public participation as a constitutional imperative and aims
to move beyond the simple representative democracy (i.e. mere participation in elections), to a more
complex participatory democracy that enables citizens to participate in a number of direct ways, to
ensure oversight and accountability. It builds on the Constitution of South Africa, 1996.