SADC Programme Social Compact and Social Justice

Social Justice is a comprehensive, universal and normative standard for an inclusive, equitable and integrative society. To approach Social Justice, inequalities in the distribution of income, assets, opportunities for work and remunerated employment, access to knowledge, health services, social security and the provision of a safe environment as well as opportunities for civic and political participation have to be overcome. Therefore, equality of rights and opportunities and equity of living conditions for all individuals and households have to be provided. This should be a universal principle where the same standard applies to everyone. Social Protection, in this context, facilitates a multitude of factors that contribute to Social Justice.

"Social protection is about providing for those in society unable to provide for themselves, the poor, the incapacitated, the unemployed, those not supposed to work such as children and women during maternity. Social protection thus deals with life’s contingencies and provides a floor or safety net to keep people from falling into poverty." (FES Zambia, 2013)

"The notion of social security covers all measures providing benefits, whether in cash or in kind, to secure protection, inter alia, from:

  • lack of work-related income (or insufficient income) caused by sickness, disability, maternity, employment injury, unemployment, old age, or death of a family member;
  • lack of access or unaffordable access to health care;
  • insufficient family support, particularly for children and adult dependants;
  • general poverty and social exclusion." (ILO, Glossary)

Overall objective 2: Social justice is an integral part of political processes and decisions in the SADC region.

Project objective 2.1: Political decision-makers have anchored the fundamental right to social security in national legislation.


1.      Governments of six SADC countries have institutionalised and legally anchored the horizontal level of the Social Protection Floor of ILO Recommendation 202.

2.      Social security for informal workers and the elimination of gender-specific discrimination are enshrined in social policy in four SADC countries.

3.      The professional public (SASPEN), trade unions (SATUCC), civil society (SADC-CNGO) and government representatives (SADC) cooperate in implementing social policy and represent social security as a contribution to social justice in the public and media.

4.      The Southern African Social Protection Experts Network Network Secretariat has been transformed into an independent structure with a governance framework, strategic plan and legal registration, and promotes social security as an essential contribution to social transformation in Southern Africa.


The political discourse in southern Africa to guarantee right-based social protection and to make it binding governments to enshrine it in social policies as a contribution to social justice is progressing noticeably. Neoliberal arguments that tax-funded basic social security is obstructing economic activities and reducing labour productivity have been refuted. On the contrary, transfer payments generate positive demand impulses, create investment opportunities for poor sections of the population and have a significant developmental economic significance. Women are particularly disadvantaged by their multiple burdens and precarious working conditions in predominantly informal economies. It has also been shown that the financing of social protection is also possible in the poorest countries. Increasing social security creates the conditions for people's democratic participation.

The work of the FES is to further strengthen the basic political consensus on the fundamental right to social security as a contribution to social justice and to anchor it institutionally and legally in the next phase. The political commitments are to be translated into binding institutionalised programmes at Länder level. This will be achieved through the networking of experts from the region, cooperation with civil society and international partners, political parties and trade unions, and advisory services for governments and the SADC at all policy levels. Gender aspects and perspectives are actively integrated into these processes. Social dialogue between partners and policy-makers is of fundamental importance for the implementation of Agenda 2063 of the African Union and Agenda 2030 for sustainable development. In addition, the project's partner constellation contributes to social security being understood as a basic building block of a democratic economic and social order and not just as a means of combating poverty.


Some of the yearly activities of the SADC Region Programme include:

  • Capacity building of SASPEN structures namely; Board of Directors, Board of Trustees, Advisory Panel, SASPEN Website Management and technical support to SASPEN secretariat
  • International Annual SASPEN Conference
  • International Country Workshop
  • Lusaka Social Protection Colloquium in Zambia
  • Social Protection Lunch (informal meetings) in Zambia and,Support to Non-State Actors on Social Protection in region

Zambia Office

6 Nalubutu Road Off Addis Ababa Road,
Plot Number 1346,
P.O. Box 30554,

Rhodespark, Lusaka, Zambia

+260 211 295579
+ 260 211 295615-16
+ 260 211 295591


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