Adriette Dekker argues that the protection provided by social security is necessary not only to achieve social justice but is also an indispensable tool in the fight against poverty. Formal government-regulated social security in South Africa comprises both social insurance and social assistance.

Due to the legacy of apartheid, this formal social security system is not comprehensive and excludes many of those who need it most, leading many people and communities to devise their own social security mechanisms. These alternatives can be termed informal social security which, although providing a certain degree of security, functions outside the protection and recognition of the formal system. The article offers suggestions for mechanisms to enhance offers cooperation between these two social security systems that can assist government in providing improved and more comprehensive social security.

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