SPII in the Media
The South African Social Security Agency, which issues grants to about 17-million beneficiaries, said on Wednesday it had identified and fixed the problem that forced some recipients to return home empty-handed earlier this week. Last month President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a significant package of social and economic measures to address the fallout from the country’s COVID-19 lockdown. Now talk to us about the impact of COVID-19 on the poor we were joined via Skype by Isobel Frye is the director of the Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute. Source: SABC News – YouTube
Society Talks is a public dialogue that brings together civil society, stakeholders + the general public to inform, engage and share experiences with the broader society. The participants are: Isobel Frye – Director of Studies at Inequality and Poverty Institute Herbert Jauch – Chairperson of Economic and Social Justice Trust and is based in Namibia Deprose Muchena – Regional Director East and Southern Africa at Amnesty International Masego Madzwamuse – CEO of Southern Africa Trust Source: Southern Africa Trust – YouTube
Thomas Robert Malthus, writing in 1798 on the English Poor Laws, wrote: ‘… dependent poverty ought to be held disgraceful. Such a stimulus seems to be absolutely necessary to promote the happiness of the great mass of mankind.’ Much will be said in coming days about the historic announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa on 21 April 2020 of the expansion of income to people living in poverty in South Africa. This decision, taken by the Cabinet the day before, should be hailed as a historic turning point in South Africa’s history, framed as it is by the fundamental chaos and ….Read More
#BIGNow: Covid-19, Unemployment and a Basic Income Grant Source: COPAC SA – YouTube
Leadership Response Post President Cyril Ramaphosa Announcement on 21 April 2020. Source: Civil Society South Africa – Facebook
South Africa’s social welfare net with Isobel Frye on SABC. Source: SABC News(YouTube)
Minimising the impact of coronavirus on food security during Covid-19 Lockdown – Isobel Frye. Source: SABC News(YouTube)
The Mediated Conversation: Looking at the SASSA grant system in South Africa and its function during the national lockdown Guests: Mervyn Abrahams, Coordinator for the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity Group Isobel Frye, Director of the Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute Ihsaan Bassier, PhD candidate in Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst
One of the unique features of South Africa’s Constitution is the role that it assigns to citizens in ensuring accountable government. We are a ‘participatory democracy’, one where active citizens play a role in ensuring that Parliament and the executive (at every level of government), fulfill the Constitution’s promise of social justice.
BUDGET: GOVERNMENT PROPOSES TO REDUCE THE MONEY IT SPENDS. It has been proven that instead of improving an economy, austerity makes it worse.
Over the past years, Universal Basic Income (UBI) has increasingly been discussed in countries across the world. India’s 2019 elections featured UBI in a prominent way; a presidential candidate in the United States 2020 elections has made UBI a core platform of his campaign; a decade-long trial is underway in rural Kenya; and since 2010, an average of a book per month is published on the topic. While such policy research and practice are yielding important lessons and learning, UBI is also subject to a growing volume of critical challenge, notably from advocates of expanding collective services, Universal Basic Services ….Read More
The International Monetary Fund says the decline in income per capita in Gauteng Province is more severe than in any other province. This basically means people in rural areas are better off there than in the economic hub. And the IMF is attributing this to the current unfavourable economic conditions. Source: SABC News
The DSL Colloquium in Pretoria centred on ‘disrupting poverty’ and moving towards providing a decent life for all. The adoption of the Decent Standard of Living (DSL) approach is important considering the current socio-economic situation, according to Philip Alston, a UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty. “We are not just trying to satisfy the bare minimum, but to really promote the notion of DSL that is much more adequate and decent to enable people to enjoy the fullness of their lives,” he said, addressing the recent fourth annual DSL Colloquium in Pretoria. The colloquium centred on “disrupting poverty” and moving ….Read More
In South Africa, each person has a constitutional right to live a life of dignity, a right to access to food and shelter, and basic services such as water, electricity and proper sanitation. An impartial research on poverty and inequality conducted by the Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute, the Southern African Social Policy Research Institute and the Labour Research Service has produced in-depth analysis of the multifaceted levels of deficit in this respect. As a result, the vision of a decent standard of living came about as a deeply thought through concept informed by analysis of the baseline study ….Read More
Economists Sacha Knox, Redge Nkosi and Phelisa Nkomo join Lee Ndaba on the line to discuss the recent Midterm Budget Policy Statement that was delivered by finance minister, Tito Mboweni.
- BUDGET JUSTICE COALITION KEY POINTS ON THE 2019 MEDIUM TERM BUDGET POLICY STATEMENT (MTBPS) A CALL TO ACTION
THE MEDIUM-TERM BUDGET PROPOSALS WILL MAKE LIFE HARDER FOR THE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE IN SOUTH AFRICA. The MTBPS is government’s broad three-year spending plan and it helps national departments, provinces and municipalities to prepare their detailed budgets for the following year. The 2019 MTBPS shows that government is choosing to deepen budget Austerity. Austerity means that government is cutting back on spending, including on important public services like education and health care. The funds that were allocated to these services are being redirected to bail out State Owned Entities and to pay off the country’s public debt, which is increasing ….Read More
- A Medium Term Budget Policy Statement that is blind to gender, inequality and ignores Constitutional duties on the state cannot take our country forward
The Budget Justice Coalition (BJC) is concerned that the 2019 MTBPS proposes a deepening of austerity (cutting expenditure to address debt) in the country. The proposals include: a 2% cut in goods, services and capital expenditure each year for the next two years; a ‘fiscal target’ to have a main budget primary balance by 2022/23, which will require R150 billion of spending cuts; and immediate cuts next year to provincial and local government grants and equitable shares. These cuts are proposed in the context of the failure of fiscal consolidation since 2011 to deliver growth or reform in the economy. ….Read More
The economy is only expected to grow by half percent this year – nowhere near what’s needed to deal with the unemployment crisis… that was highlighted by shocking stats this week. With South Africa living on credit, well beyond its means, Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni has sounded the alarm about a debt trap. We’re joined by investor Owen Nkomo, the CEO of Inkunzi Wealth, Political analysts, Xolani Dube from Xubera Public Forum and Isobel Frye who is the Director of the Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute. Source: SABC News(YouTube)
Source: Philip Alston(YouTube)
Listen to Isobel Frye, Director of SPII, talking about the impact of poverty on the youth and social cohesion on Channel Africa , SAFM, Tuesday 8 October 2019.
Healthcare forms the basis for the realisation of a wide variety of socioeconomic rights, which is why the NHI is a much-needed step in the right direction. Conversations surrounding access to quality healthcare are currently dominated by high-level policy discussions in relation to the national health insurance (NHI). These discussions are often far removed from community-driven commitments to creating more equitable realities, a richness of which exist on the ground. Access to healthcare is a human right in South Africa. This encompasses individual health and the overall well-being of communities. Universal health coverage (UHC) forms part of an intergovernmental agreement ….Read More
Highlights from the inaugural 4th Industrial Revolution SA (4IRSA) Digital Economy Summit, in which Isobel Frye presented on ‘Shaking out Structural Poverty and Inequality’ and asked how the fourth industrial revolution can be used as an opportunity for inclusion and income redistribution.
In among all the numbers, we have lost sight of dignity, and our value and worth as human beings. Poverty and inequality are the greatest obstacles to the full liberation of South Africans from an oppressive and divisive past. The National Development Plan 2030 is dedicated to eliminating exactly that. SA is fortunate to have a credible statistical agency that supports evidence-based policy formulation. Poverty and inequality are complex and the country’s policy responses require the best we have in conceptualisation, planning, implementation and monitoring. Despite the gains made since 1994, the feeling is we are failing in this project. ….Read More
SPII weighs in on the traumatic experience of structural, intergenerational poverty in South Africa and points to the increased need for, and relevance of, social assistance in the country, particularly for the youth.
Isobel Frye, Director of SPII, in a panel discussion about the economic trajectory of South Africa, pointing to seismic shifts in relation to unemployment.
Sacha Knox, Senior Researcher and Budget Analyst at SPII, discussing the new Poverty Lines from StatsSA, Inequality in South Africa and the need for increased social security, including a Basic Income Grant.
Introducing a basic income grant, or ‘Freedom Dividend’, of R1,000 a month will help those who are unemployed and bring minimum-wage earners’ incomes closer to a living wage. This would almost certainly make a meaningful difference to millions of South Africans in their efforts to survive, make a living and find employment. For his 2020 Democratic candidacy for the US presidential elections, Andrew Yang put forward as his signature policy proposal the idea of a universal basic income, where each American receives $1,000 a month. This automatic and unconditional payment would be delivered to all Americans over the age of ….Read More
Hunger does not allow for a decent life. Hunger prevents children from optimal development and learning and prevents adults from being fully productive members of society. It is not a ‘nice to have’ for the realisation of the SONA’s full vision, but a basic necessity. President Cyril Ramaphosa’s commitment to ensuring no one goes to bed hungry within 10 years is welcome. To begin to rebuild the massive trust deficit that has built up between the state and its citizens, it is crucial not only that this goal is achieved, but that throughout the next years it is seen to be met. ….Read More
Eusebius had a robust debate with policy and economic experts Duma Gqubule , Busisiwe Radebe and Isobel Frye about the economic data and ideas in the recent state of the nation address delivered by president Ramaphosa.
FEMINIST CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS CALL ON PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF FINANCE TO MAKE GOOD ON PROMISES TO FUND THE FIGHT AGAINST GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE 20 June 2019 – despite President Cyril Ramaphosa’s pronouncements in the February 2019 State of the Nation Address (SONA) that funding would be allocated to combat Gender-Based Violence, when Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni, delivered his budget speech on 20 February 2019, there were no new allocations to combat Gender-Based Violence.
Public contracting is the meeting point of significant power and money and in most countries, these systems are characterised by convoluted, opaque planning. According to a recent report by the Open Contracting Partnership, up to 20% of state procurement budgets for infrastructure may be wasted. Opening procurement data will help support public participation and foster accountable governance.In February 2018, the erstwhile Minister of Finance launched South Africa’s first national open budget data portal, Vulekamali. This is an initiative between a coalition of civil society organisations known as Imali Yethu (“Our Money”), and the National Treasury.The online portal aims to create greater transparency ….Read More
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqkB-hxcTeo As the country digests the low GDP figures, we continue to look at the impact this has on poverty.We are now joined by Isobel Frye who is the director at The Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute.
Poverty is political. It is about choices, values and self- interest. It is about power, about winners and losers. If you think it too dramatic to say that poverty is about life and death, it is certainly about how you live and how and when you die. Poverty is not a neutral matter of development theory and practice. Poverty is not rhetorical. Poverty is political. We need a political solution for a political problem. On Africa Day 2019 in the stadium of Loftus Versfeld, Cyril Ramaphosa was sworn in as President ahead of the sixth administration of democratic South Africa. ….Read More
Eusebius hosted a discussion with Dr Thabi Leoka (economist), Neil Coleman (policy analyst and co-director of Institute for Economic Justice) and Isobel Frye (director of Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute) about what needs to be done to decimate the country’s unemployment figures.
South Africa’s sixth post-apartheid administration under President Cyril Ramaphosa needs to hit the ground running in relooking at how to address poverty and inequality. Conventional solutions to unemployment are simply not working, and it is time to start looking at non-conventional means. The mantra of addressing the triple ills of poverty, unemployment and inequality in South Africa held by the ruling party and the State is that growth to the economy will trickle down to uplift the poor from their destitution. The National Development Plan has a great goal of eliminating poverty and reducing unemployment to 14% in 2020 and ….Read More
- BUDGETING IN AN ERA OF AUSTERITY AND STATE CAPTURE: A FIVE-YEAR REVIEW OF BUDGET POLICIES AND OUTCOMES
This submission is informed by a range of civil society organisations (CSOs) who are part of the Budget Justice Coalition, including the Alternative Information and Development Centre (AIDC), the Children’s Institute at UCT, the Dullah Omar Institute (DOI), Equal Education (EE), Equal Education Law Centre (EELC), the Institute for Economic Justice (IEJ), the National Shelter Movement, OxfamSA, Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity (PMEJD), the Public Service Accountability Monitor (PSAM),the Rural Health Advocacy Project (RHAP), SECTION27 and the Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute (SPII). The purpose of the Budget Justice Coalition is to collaboratively build people’s understanding of and participation ….Read More
21 February 2019, Cape Town – The Budget Justice Coalition notes the irony of a budget handed down on World Day of Social Justice that slashes R50.3 billion from social expenditure over the next three years. While we recognise the tight financial spot the Treasury has been painted into by widespread corruption, under-delivering departments and failing SOEs, especially Eskom – we urge government to recall its first duty: to ensure the progressive realisation of people’s Constitutional rights. The fiscal framework proposed in this budget bails out Eskom but cuts spending on education, health care and housing, and makes no new proposals ….Read More
It is remarkable that South Africa’s social security laws are still based on the pre-1994 Social Assistance Act, with tweaks. These laws were aimed at the well-being of white South Africans in the context of virtual full employment for white men. They do not accommodate the lifelong income poverty of millions marginalised from decent work. The catch is that destitution or poverty, while it may be distressing, is not distress, as defined in the act. If you are poor, you are not distressed, but destitute. And for that state of being, there is no income support. Many might have forgotten ….Read More
The Budget Justice Coalition notes the irony of a budget handed down on World Day of Social Justice that slashes R50.3 billion from social expenditure over the next three years. While we recognise the tight financial spot the Treasury has been painted into by widespread corruption, under-delivering departments and failing SOEs, especially Eskom – we urge government to recall its first duty: to ensure the progressive realisation of people’s Constitutional rights. The fiscal framework proposed in this budget bails out Eskom but cuts spending on education, health care and housing, and makes no new proposals to tackle inequality. For example, ….Read More
South Africa is the most unequal country in the world, according to a World Bank 2018 study of 149 countries. Inequality is rising globally as the 2018 World Inequality Report sets out, but there are historic and current drivers of inequality in South Africa that must be understood to be arrested and turned around. Listen to this Podcast of the Radio 702 interview hosted by Eusebius McKaiser on Monday 28 January 2019 with Isobel Frye, director of SPII, and Basani Baloyi of Oxfam South Africa unpack the recent 2019 Oxfam Global Report on Inequality on some of the key debates
- Budget Justice Coalition post-MTBPS Press Statement: No winners from Minister Mboweni’s #MTBPS2018 address
Cape Town, 25 October 2018 – Rather than taking bold steps to stimulate the economy and embark on a more inclusive growth path, the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) tinkers at the margins. While the statement focused on improving governance and strengthening institutions such as SARS, it is the view of the Budget Justice Coalition (BJC) that an economic recovery and turnaround will come only from investment in our human capital and a stronger focus on meeting the constitutional obligations of the State. The anaemic social spending of recent years that is bankrupting many social services will only further entrench ….Read More
South Africa risks continued failures to fulfil its human rights obligations to people if the government’s austerity policy is maintained, civil society organisations have warned at the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (the UN Committee) in Geneva. The organisations outlined the systemic challenges that impede access to adequate health care, housing, education, work, social security, food and land to the Committee and urged government to tackle these without delay. South Africa is participating in its first hearing at the UN Committee, which oversees how member states implement of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (the International Covenant). ….Read More
Rhodes University’s Public ServiceAccountability Monitor (PSAM), last week gathered members from the National Treasury, the Legal Resources Centre, Afesis Corplan, and open data activist institute OpenUp for a dialogue on Vulekamali, an online budget data portal which was established by Treasury in alliance with Imali Yethu – a coalition of civil society organisations for open budgets.
Value Added Tax will be increased to 15% from 1 April 2018. Some say it’s a necessary step to keep the economy on track, but others blame it squarely on State capture and corruption. The big question is: with the majority of South Africans living below the poverty line, how will the poor compensate from their already empty pockets?
LIFE for the poor is not getting better in South Africa. While economic growth and empowerment is always on government’s lips, ordinary citizens aren’t benefiting. In South Africa more than 90 percent of black people live in poverty and this isn’t getting any better, according to Statistics South Africa (Stats SA).
Press Statement: CIVIL SOCIETY PROPOSES ALTERNATIVE, PEOPLE-CENTERED BUDGET 20 FEBRUARY 2018 PRESS RELEASE CIVIL SOCIETY PROPOSES ALTERNATIVE, PEOPLE-CENTERED BUDGET Broad collective of socio-economic rights organisations offer example of a budget which takes ordinary South Africans seriously. Minister Gigaba will be asked to make hard, but essential budget choices in his first budget speech in Parliament tomorrow. But the Minister’s task will be to allocate funds in such a way as to ensure that South Africa’s chronic poverty and inequality are alleviated, and that effect is given to the rights of the most vulnerable. A broad cross-section of South African civil ….Read More