The plight of lone mothers: Social security provision and autonomy?

Phakama Ntshongwana


This book aims to enhance a social-scientific examination of Social Policy in South Africa, utilising interdisciplinary analytical tools that employ historical, political and socio-economic dimensions. The research represented in the book is located within temporal and spatial spheres that are critical components of the characteristic social landscape of South Africa. Empirical data is derived from two pivotal timeframes: a decade following the initiation of the child support grant in South Africa (in 2008) and the year 2021, influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic. The research presented in the book utilises a combination of quantitative and qualitative research methods. This approach integrates diverse epistemologies to bolster the study and offer additional insights. The qualitative component of the study assists in deconstructing social policy-related phenomena such as family values, attitudes towards work and social assistance. As such, information about possible reasons for the success or failure of social policy is collated. In addition, the study was conducted in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape provinces, which allowed for the opportunity to explore challenges in economic migration in significant detail with considerable population movement between the two provinces. The quantitative component is nationally representative and spans the qualitative primary research focus periods (2008, 2020 and 2021), demonstrating employment and unemployment trends from 2008 to 2021. Additional themes explored include spatial inequalities, unpaid child care, dignity and poverty.


  • Chapter 1
    Navigating dignity: Social security for lone mothers in South Africa
  • Chapter 2
    Has the apartheid legacy bequeathed an underclass to South Africa?
  • Chapter 3
    Lone motherhood in South Africa
  • Chapter 4
    Lone motherhood: Employment and unemployment
  • Chapter 5
    Who cares?: Child care challenges for lone mothers
  • Chapter 6
    The role of the child support grant – promoting independence or creating dependency?
  • Chapter 7
    Dignity in the lives of low-income lone mothers
  • Chapter 8
    Potential social security provision in South Africa: The basic income grant


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