SPII’s Current Activities:

SPII’s work falls into three main programmes, namely Socio-Economic Rights, the Basic Needs Basket and Food Price Monitoring, and Social Dialogue Programmes.

1. Socio-Economic Rights (SER) Programme

The socio-economic rights contained in the Constitution of South Africa (Act 108 of 1996) are central to the realisation of a transformed country and a healed nation.

At SPII, they have three projects that currently fall under the SER programme. These are:

  • Monitoring the Progressive realisation of Socio-Economic Rights;
  • Campaign for a SADC- Basic Income Grant;
  • Stimulating Local Economic Development amongst Social Grant Recipients.

Project One: Monitoring the Progressive realisation of Socio-Economic Rights

This project has been running since 2010 and is currently in its second phase. The aim of this project is to develop a tool that will monitor the progressive realisation of socio-economic rights in South Africa.

The indicators for each right, enshrined in the Constitution, will look at both access and enjoyment of rights in order to provide a more holistic picture of the status of socio-economic rights realisation in the country.

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Project Two: Campaign for a SADC- Basic Income Grant

Together with a network of partners, SPII is spearheading a study to develop and innovative and coherent case for the introduction of a Southern African Development Community (SADC) wide cash transfer (Basic Income Grants), funded by a tax on the extractive activities which would operate as a regional equivalent of a sovereign wealth fund. The first phase of the entailed conducting a scoping exercise of current research that consider the value of the extractive activities, current levels of tax and other concessions paid as well as possible funding and distribution mechanisms.

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Project Three: Stimulating Local Economic Development

In the last eighteen months, SPII undertook primary and secondary research for the ‘Linking cash transfers to local economic development (LED): Developing a pilot project’ project. The research sought to examine the dynamics between social assistance and LED. In the absence of formal employment, the poor and marginalised in South Africa are reliant on the informal sector and social grants for survival.

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2. Primary Research into Basic Needs Basket (BNB)Programme

While national statistics are useful for providing data on general trends of poverty and inequality, SPII identified a gap in advancing the understanding of how real people live, their hopes and aspirations, their dreams and their frustrations, in having to cope with poverty and destitution on a daily basis.

SPII has two projects that fall under Basic Needs. These are:

  • Evaton Household Expenditure Survey;
  • Food Price Monitoring Survey and the Basic Needs Basket.

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Project One: Evaton Household Expenditure Survey

With assistance of Statistics South Africa, SPII undertook a yearlong survey of 144 households in a township called Evaton, South of Gauteng. The survey included a formal questionnaire about people’s families and activities, their educational experiences and employment histories, and sources of income and expenditure.

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Project Two: Food Price Monitoring Survey and the Basic Needs Basket

Between November 2011 and June 2012, SPII conducted a Food Price Monitoring survey which tracked price changes of basic food items selected from the household expenditure survey conducted in Evaton, during the same period. The monthly analysis of the food price monitoring survey was published in the bi-monthly SPII Talk Newsletter and the findings were also presented at the National Economic Development and Labour Council in the Public and Monetary Policy Chamber

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3. Social Dialogue on Poverty and Inequality

Located in the constitutional imperative of the public participation, SPII is committed to advancing access to research, findings and recommendations of the research undertaken by the Institute, to audiences that are both situated in the policy and resource  allocation decision-making processes and those beyond. Shaping and contributing to national debated and a discussion is crucial for advancing transformation at a variety of levels and fora.

Foundational to our theory of change analysis is the concept of concentric circles of influence and decision-making processes that can be used to promote equality and progressive change. Thus, spaces and affiliations that we have built in to this programme include: NEDLAC, partnered public seminars, cross cutting stakeholder management through our project based research and reference/ expert teams, and the use of medias a secondary, broader medium of influencing social and public discourse. In addition, we contribute in conferences, seminars and journals hosted by others within the civil society sector and beyond.

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