EuroEconomica, Vol 34, No 2 (2015)

Poverty: A socio-economic threat to sustainable development as envisioned by South Africa’s transformative regime

Mashele Rapatsa


This article discusses the phenomenon of poverty, considerate of its impact on sustainable development. This takes into account the fact that South Africa’s post-1994 dispensation recognized and placed sustainable development at the core of its normative and institutional framework founded essentially to safeguard sustainable livelihood for humanitarian gains. It is for this reason that socio-economic rights got entrenched in the Constitution, 1996 and were afforded judicial enforceability. This constituted a strategy through which judiciary would devise creative interventions, in cooperation with government, to effectively mitigate adverse socio-economic effects of poverty among indigent communities. This article relied on South Africa’s constitutionally entrenched transformative theory as a tool of analyses. It is asserted that as a socio-economic problem, poverty inhibits realization of basic human rights such as education and health care, which are indispensable for sustainable development. Further that lack of employment opportunities owing to sluggish economic growth compounds the problem even more thereby making poverty a pervasive challenge to development at large. 


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