Social policy and welfare regimes typologies: Any relevance to South Africa?

Ndangwa Noyoo

This paper revisits Esping-Andersen’s welfare regimes typology and applies it to the South African context. To argue its case, it refers to and uses the construct of colonialism of a special type. The paper notes that unlike other African coun- tries, Esping-Andersen’s framework resonates with South Africa’s social policy and welfare regime because of its unique history that partly stems from coloni- alism of a special type. It argues that social policy in present-day South Africa continues to reproduce colonial and apartheid socio-economic outcomes due to path dependency. The paper asserts that path dependency has largely been shaped by colonialism of a special type. The discussion then concludes that South Africa straddles the liberal and social democratic welfare state regimes and classifies it as a hybrid welfare regime.

Keywords: Apartheid, colonialism, colonialism of a special type, path dependency, social policy, welfare regimes

Vol: 2/2017 - Article 2.2