One of the key issues SA will grapple with for some time to come is the intersection of two social norms or human values: the value and dignity of work (also known as self-reliance) and social assistance (which is founded on altruism). This intersection is not unique to SA.

In SA’s case, the conflict between these two social norms may have another source, which is the decline in the satisfaction with the way democracy is working as measured by the HSRC’s social attitudes survey. Contrary to what some politicians say, this decline began under Thabo Mbeki’s presidency. Satisfaction and dissatisfaction with democracy’s workings crossed about 2011, meaning the percentage of surveyed South Africans who expressed dissatisfaction exceeded those who said they were satisfied...

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