Challenging inequalities through policy relevant academic research.


January 2021

Dear Friends,

We hope that you and all those who are close to you are well. South Africa experienced a really big second wave of COVID-19 over December, which finally seems to be subsiding now, and we hope that everyone is coping during these difficult times.

After a long and much needed break over December and January, SALDRU is fully operational again in our online/virtual way, and we eagerly look forward to the day when we can return to campus and our little corridor in the School of Economics.

As we’ve been mostly closed since we sent out our previous newsletter and this one, we don’t have that much news to share with you. The Basic Package of Support (BPS) for youth, which has been developed slowly and carefully over the past few years, will be piloted later this year. This project has thrived under the excellent leadership of Chief Research Officer Ariane De Lannoy. It involves multiple stakeholders - from academia, civil society, various branches of government, and some multi-national organizations - and it is really exciting to be getting to the point where we can roll-out the BPS.

On the people front, Jacqueline Mosomi has ended her stint as a Post-Doctoral Fellow in SALDRU, and started a new position as a Junior Research Fellow in January. This is wonderful news and we look forward to working with her as she embarks on the next steps of her professional journey.

Best wishes,

Murray Leibbrandt
Director, SALDRU
Vimal Ranchhod
Deputy Director, SALDRU

Gearing up for piloting a support programme for vulnerable young people in South Africa

Image: Basic Package of Support.

The COVID-19 virus seems set on continuing its devastating path in 2021. Available empirical evidence shows that the effects of the pandemic have been disproportionately felt by vulnerable groups, including young people. This is worrying, as many young people in South Africa were already in dire situations before the pandemic struck, with more than 7 million (42%) youth aged 18 – 35 years already living in income poverty; 4.6 million unemployed (by the narrow definition of unemployment; a 42% unemployment rate); and close to 10 million (52%) not in employment, education or training (NEET) before the lockdown implemented since March 2020. Young South Africans now more than ever need all the support possible to avoid more of them becoming discouraged, to help them connect to the services that are available to them (and to improve the quality of those services) and, ultimately, to get them onto pathways to sustainable livelihoods. These are the goals of the Basic Package of Support (BPS) for youth programme, which – after two years of research and development – will be piloted by SALDRU and BPS project partners this year. Read more.


Basic Package of Support explainer video

Image: Screenshot of the Basic Package of Support video.

This three-minute video on the South African Basic Package of Support (BPS) explains the intervention from a young person's perspective. It was completed towards the end of 2020 to help raise awareness of, and investment in, this activation programme for young people who are not in employment, education or training. The intervention was developed by a consortium of South African researchers, policymakers and youth development initiatives and will be piloted this year. The video is hosted on the YouTube channel of the Capacity Building Programme for Employment Promotion, a key government partner in the BPS consortium, which has been providing funding and technical support to the research team since the project’s start-up at the end of 2018. Watch the video.

Prohibition Era – AB InBev subsidiary sues South African government over alcohol bans that peril country’s brewing industry
Good Beer Hunting, 7 January 2021

Covid-19 fallout taking toll on emotional state of SA's youngsters - study  
News24, 14 December 2020

COVID-19-related lockdown takes toll on young peoples’ mental health (Media statement)
UCT News, 14 December 2020

Ruling deals crushing blow to zero-hours contracts
New Frame, 26 November 2020
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