Webinar Two of a Three-part Series: How to Fund Interventions to Reduce Poverty in South Africa?

Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) ; Bureau for Economic Research (BER) (2021)

MP4 video, Size: 1.83GB; Duration: 2:32

The ASSAf Standing Committee on the Science for the Reduction of Poverty and Inequality (SCSfRPI) has been mandated by the ASSAf Council to focus on poverty and inequality in respect to the pandemic, and to consult interdisciplinary science in the consideration of how to reduce poverty and inequality. In response, the SCSfRPI conceptualised a webinar series that will delve into the following themes:

1. What to do to reduce poverty and inequality? 2. How to fund interventions to reduce poverty? 3. What must be done if the state is to be capable of poverty and inequality reduction?

The notion of evidence-based advice received great attention in 2020 as the pandemic spread across the globe, and scientists and decision-makers alike grappled with information and uncertainties in equal amounts. Therefore, the intention of this webinar series is to present on the research findings, options and the debates associated with the webinar theme, with a focus on how to bridge knowledge/praxis gaps. Emphasis will be placed on ways in which scientific endeavour concerning poverty and inequality reduction, largely generated from the social sciences and the humanities, can assist all spheres of government as well as society as a whole.

South African society continues to battle with the large injustice of poverty and inequality. For many years we failed to actively fund critical poverty alleviation programmes. The poverty and inequality problem has therefore increased as more and more people lost their jobs as the economy stalled due to the lack of investment and confidence in the leadership. At the same time COVID-19 provided a further blow to an already damaged economy. The pandemic has exacerbated vulnerabilities that was already prevalent, including access to services such as water, healthcare and food. We now need to urgently find ways to fund potential interventions.

The question remains, however, how do we fund these key interventions with government debt already at almost 90% of GDP and large budget deficit. What are South Africa’s fiscal constraints and can we afford to increase the national debt to pay for this. What are the funding options?

• A wealth tax • Consumption taxes on high value items such as luxury cars • Increase in sin taxes • Increase the deficit • Cooperation with civil society and the private sector

Author and contributor ORCIDs: Isaacs, Gilad ORCID; Du Plessis, Stan ORCID; Woolard, Ingrid ORCID; Kirsten Johann ORCID
Publisher: Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf)
Sponsorship: Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) and Bureau for Economic Research (BER)
Peer review status: Non-Peer Reviewed