Community development in South Africa

Collective action for social change

Authored by: Lambert Engelbrecht , Mornay Pretorius

The Handbook of Social Work and Social Development in Africa

Print publication date:  November  2016
Online publication date:  October  2016

Print ISBN: 9781472468512
eBook ISBN: 9781315557359
Adobe ISBN: 9781317029380

10.4324/9781315557359.ch24

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Abstract

Despite over two decades of reconstruction and development, almost half of South Africa’s population lives on or below the poverty line. There is chronic poverty in the rural areas, peri-urban areas, and urban informal settlements, where the bulk of the poor reside. In fact, approximately 72% of South Africa’s poor live in rural areas (Republic of South Africa (RSA), 1997), where they face the harshest conditions of poverty, illiteracy, food insecurity, and lack of services on a daily basis. Community development has become central to poverty eradication and a cornerstone of social development in South Africa (Gray & Mubangizi, 2010; Hart, 2012; Hölscher, 2008; Kaeane & Ross, 2012; Mubangizi, 2008; Patel, 2005; Ruiters, 2007; Triegaardt, 2008). As a result, there has been a proliferation of state-led community work and community development initiatives. Examples include the National Community Development Workers Programme (CDWP), Community Works Programme, and Community Development Practitioner Programme (Westoby & Botes, 2013). This chapter provides an overview of community development policy and praxis in South Africa as a response to the unique and complex challenges of poverty, and considers their implications for social work.

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