Women and social protection in South Africa post 1994: a case study of eThekwini Municipality.
Duma, Nomusa Catherine.
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This study focused on women and social protection in South Africa post 1994. It drew on organizational theories to understand and explain the realities on the ground as experienced by female beneficiaries of government’s social protection policies in selected areas of Kwazulu-Natal province. The primary objective of the study was to establish whether the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government of South Africa has social protection programmes in place and whether these are sustainable and strategically aligned to the promotion of women empowerment. In addition, the study assessed the government’s processes of policy and programme implementation and the extent to which they sustainably nurture social protection and empowerment of women beneficiaries. Further, the study sought to understand and explain the extent to which public policy makers and public administrators engaged in monitoring and evaluation of social protection programmes in the pursuit of women empowerment. The study was of a qualitative nature thus, a case study method was employed. The study found that women remain economically disempowered and unable to fend for themselves post 1994. The study revealed a profound fragmentation in terms of the social protection programmes as the empowerment and economic development elements were found lacking. This was particularly due to a lack of targeting mechanisms in the conceptualization and implementation of social protection programmes. The study recommends that the Department of Social Development, which is the custodian department, should strengthen its research thrust to establish adequate, responsive, and women-specific programmes. Specifically, a conscious and concerted effort to integrate empowerment in social protection programmes is more likely to yield results and will ultimately result in the unlocking of the economic potential, thus, the economic empowerment of women headed-households.