From the moment South Africa became a liberal democracy, the Government promised to deliver on social security for the poor. However, South African NGOs have reported that several barriers prevent poor South Africans, and black women in particular, from accessing the country’s social assistance system. Government inaction has compelled NGOs to approach the Courts. As reflected in a series of court judgements, many problems faced by the system relate to the administration of payments by South African and multinational corporations. But is this the complete story? Applying a critical, analytical lens of legal mobilisation to explain the potential of legal mobilisation to secure progressive structural change, this article will assess the extent to which civic-based, legal advocacy aimed at securing access to social grants, and challenging the manner in which these grants have been administered, has the potential to more strategically advance socioeconomic justice and inequality for South Africa’s poor. Keywords Social Assistance; Civil Society; Legal Mobilisation.

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Development Southern Africa
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)

Handmaker, J., & Matthews, T. (2019). Analysing legal mobilisation’s potential to secure equal access to socioeconomic justice in South Africa. Development Southern Africa, 36(6), 889–904. doi:10.1080/0376835X.2019.1675496