News / South Africa

Asanda Matlhare
Intern Journalist
1 minute read
12 Oct 2021
7:00 am

Social justice rooted in equality – Madonsela

Asanda Matlhare

Former public protector and social justice chair at the University of Stellenbosch Thuli Madonsela said on Monday the core mandate of social justice was equality.

Thuli Madonsela. Picture: Gallo Images/Die Burger/Jaco Marais

Madonsela was speaking at the International Conference on Law, Policy and Social Justice: Taking Economic Equality Seriously, a global platform which reflects on advancing equality and ending poverty globally.

It has a special focus on progress, shortfalls and prospects regarding law and policy responses to the pandemic, and the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals in Africa.

“Social justice is about the equal enjoyment of all rights and freedoms regardless of human diversity reflected in the fair, just and equitable distribution of all opportunities, resources, benefits, privileges and burdens in a society or group and between societies,” she noted.

Madonsela added the discussions primarily focused on the South African context but urged people to use it as a case study to look at peace and justice in places such as Mozambique, Angola and Somalia.

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Economist and University of Cape Town Professor Professor Haroon Bharat spoke under the theme of wealth and income distribution.

“I would argue we need to locate the notion of law, inequality and equality within the broader context of growth poverty and inequality dynamics.

“The reason I argue that is those three are inextricably linked: high levels of economic growth in an era where inequality has risen will effectively mute the impact of poverty levels,” he said.

“A high inequality society like ours is not going to see any reduction in inequality levels if we don’t have economic growth.”

The economist added that the role of the law in terms of growth, poverty and inequality was to set legislation that would govern social assistance.