Prof Derick Blaauw was among a number of government, educational and non-governmental role-players invited by the National Planning Commission to attend a Roundtable Discussion on the Social Protection Floor and Cost of Living. The event formed part of a series of research engagements as part of the NDP’s focus to eradicate poverty by 2030. The event took place in Pretoria on the 8th of May 2017. The revised White Paper on Social Welfare as well as draft paper titled “Analysing the impact of State services on the cost of living for the poor” formed the basis of the discussion. The paper was prepared and presented by Dr. Neva Makgetla as a technical and policy discussion on research pertaining to issues that needs to be reviewed for improved standard of living and social protection. The discussion focused on the quality of life for the poor in South Africa in the context of promoting implementation of NDP.
Issues that came to the fore was e.g. the reach of services and social grants in light of the fact that life chances are still far from just and equitable in spite of all the effort since 1997. The point was made that the reality of our urban areas reflects a time bomb. Research must take us beyond the broad generalities to the detail of when how and why of the people who are most vulnerable. It became clear that administrative justice issues are just as important as legislative justice. Bureaucrats often do not appreciate the impact of their actions. A number of state services do not give the agency people need to escape poverty such as: Health; Energy, Education. The point was made that Government and implementing agencies must buy into a human rights culture. A number of research areas were identified as a way of summarizing the events of the day. These include:
1. Food systems
2. Urban planning and densification
3. Asset collection to escape poverty and improving agency
3. Water issues in the Eastern Cape
4. Practical ideas for school improvements
5. Access to centers of excellence.