The Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute (SPII)

The Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute (SPII) is an independent not-for-profit research think tank which focuses on generating new knowledge, information and analysis in the field of poverty and inequality studies. Vision SPII is an independent research think tank which focuses on generating new knowledge, information and analysis in the field of poverty and inequality studies. Through facilitating collaborative partnerships with and between institutions of democracy academia and civil society organisations, the organisation will be able to develop innovative and promoting sustainable development. It will work to support the development of a tradition of effective public participation in policy making and implementation. Mission The Vision will be realised through:

  • Bringing together policy makers, analysts and implementers from government, academia and civil society formations, as well as international role players / academics / researchers and activists;
  • Sharing information about poverty and inequality research and policy processes in order to stimulate new areas of collaboration among stakeholders;
  • Constantly identifying further areas of research and / or gaps in current knowledge and to commission such research which will contribute to public knowledge and innovation;
  • Disseminating information and research produced by the Institute to assist in policy development processes and campaigns;
  • Participating in building regional collaboration and disseminating innovative practices focused on fighting poverty and inequality in the Southern African region.

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Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute (SPII) – an independent research think tank that focuses on generating new knowledge, information and analysis in the field of poverty and inequality studies – is pleased to welcome yet another renowned veteran onto its board of trustees, former inspector general for South Africa’s intelligence service Dr Mohamed Fazel Randera.

Randera, who is currently a Non-Executive Director of Exxaro Resources Limited, was the health advisor at the Chamber of Mines and is deputy chairman of Nehawu Investment Holdings and MediTech South Africa. He served as board and council member of the World Medical Association from 1997 to 2000, participated in the World Health Organization international inquiry into the tobacco industry from 1998 to 1999 and chaired the global initiative on HIV/Aids reporting in 2004.

In South Africa, he sat on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission from 1995 to 1998, founded the Ethics Institute and served as chairman from 1997 to 2000, and served on the Human Rights Commission from 1997 to 1999.

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SPII Talk Newsletter


The first quarter of this year has been quite eventful mounting scrutiny of the executive in the Constitutional Court, as well as increasing concerns raised about possible cuts in state spending due to dampened economic growth – consequently, Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute has been just as robust in its advocacy for social justice.

We are happy to announce the release of SPII Talk Volume 23, which has a specific human rights focus, in light of Human Rights Day.

Some of the highlights of this edition include:

  • Guest Writer: Equal Education General Secretary Tshepo Motsepe
  • SPII LED researcher pursues social protection masters studies
  • Hot Topic: SPII joins the South African race debate
  • SPII gains two more veterans on its board

      Download Full PDF Document – Click here


Let’s talk ‘BIG’ about poverty!

BusisoDespite being endowed with many natural resources, Sub-Sahara Africa (SSA), wherein 13 of the 14 SADC countries are located, ranks amongst the worst regions globally in terms of poverty and socio-economic inequalities. Evidently, for the region, the capitalist ‘trickle down’ effect of wealth to all citizens in the context of a neoliberal global political economy has proven to be a fallacy. As such, now more than ever, it has become imperative for African governments to prioritize social protection namely through the provision of a Basic Income Grant (BIG) for all residents furnished through universal Social Cash Transfers (SCTs). A cursory look at SADC countries’ socio-economic circumstances clearly reveals the need for upping efforts towards social protection to ensure that the most vulnerable are safe from destitution. South Africa, despite being a middle-income country and regarded as relatively the economic mecca of Africa, is the one of the most unequal countries in the world. People with access to wealth experience the country as a developed modern economy, while the poorest still struggle to access even the most basic services. Download full PDF Document – Busiso SADC BIG Blog – Issue 1 2015

LED Blog

Word from the Field

Word from the Field For many people in Evaton Township, seeing a group of young and enthusiastic fieldworkers amid the red dust comes as a surprise.  This is often the reaction fieldworkers receive when they visit participants at their households during the weekly visits. The scientific term is to refer to us as fieldworkers, but we see ourselves as ‘enterprise coaches’, and enterprise coaches form an integral part of the implementation process of the pilot project1. What we do is act as agents for monitoring the interventions received by project participants.

Download Full PDF DocumentWord from the field

Catch SPII Director Isobel Frye on 702 discussing seedy deductions on social grants by financial institutions at 12.30 today. ... See MoreSee Less

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Don't miss SPII Advocacy Officer Angelo C Louw's opinion piece in Sunday Times looking at the national minimum wage and why it is important for the country to conclude negotiations

#WorkersDay #SundayReading
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ActionAid South Africa director, Fatima Shabodien, raised some pressing issues around poverty and inequality in South Africa at the launch of their latest report. Search for and follow "@SPII1" on Twitter for quotes from her and other panelists, Comrade Jay Naidoo and ActionAid Global Advocacy Coordinator Sameer Dossani. ... See MoreSee Less

#FightInequality: "There is a dialectic between wealth and poverty. The one creates the other. We need to make #inequality an unpalatable and unacceptable norm," says ActionAid South Africa's Country Director Fatima Shabodien speaking at the launch of ActionAid's latest report "The Price of Privilege". Read the report here:

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