Mobilising social justice in South Africa Perspectives from Researchers and practitioners
Edited by Jeff Handmaker and Remko Berkhout
ISBN: 978-0-9869857-0-6
Pages: xviii 208
Print version: Available
Electronic version: Free PDF available

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About the publication

South Africa grapples with serious social and economic inequalities, including inequality in access to basic services. At a time of rising social tensions, the country’s institutions are in danger of losing the legitimacy they gained in the wake of democratic dispensations of the 1990s.

Faced with these challenges, civic actors in South Africa form alliances at different levels, combining legal and non-legal strategies to try to address massive and growing disparities between rich and poor, as well as large-scale inequality and injustice. They aim to mobilise social justice through various and innovative means.

There are many dimensions to understanding the dynamics of civil society, the potential for civic actors to contribute to structural changes in unequal power relations, and the roles of external actors in supporting them. This book presents the findings of five research projects that address these key areas in partnership with practitioners, which were presented at an international conference organised by the Hivos-ISS Knowledge Programme on Civil Society in November 2009 in Johannesburg.

About the editors:

Jeff Handmaker is a Senior Lecturer in Law, Human Rights and Development at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), Erasmus University
Remko Berkhout

Table of Contents


  • A Critical Historical Context on Mobilising Social Justice
    Liepollo Lebohang Pheko and Edward Sebastien


  • Introduction to Mobilising Social Justice: critical discussions on the potential for civicaction and structural change
    Remko Berkhout and Jeff Handmaker
  • Civic-State Interactions and the Potential for Structural Change
    Jeff Handmaker
  • The Budget Process and Strategic Civic Interventions
    Frank S. Jenkins
  • Civic Action and Legal Mobilisation: the Phiri water meters case
    Jackie Dugard
  • Resistance and Repression: policing protest in post-apartheid South Africa
    Marcelle C. Dawson
  • Migrant Mobilisation: structure and strategies for claiming rights in South Africa and Kenya
    Zaheera Jinnah with Rio Holaday
  • Unlocking the Potential for Civic Action and Structural Change: reflections on mobilising social justice
    Jeff Handmaker and Remko Berkhout


  • Transforming our Society 
    Conference address by Yasmin Sooka


  • A Journey of Personal Discovery 
    Conference address by Shahrukh Alam

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