Since the advent of democracy in the 1990s, the South African political settlement has ushered into policy a progressive framework for the realization of socio-economic rights, enshrined by the Constitution. However, this political settlement has failed to translate into an economic and social settlement that results in just livelihood strategies and equitable service delivery that addresses historical grievances. Inadequate implementation of socio-economic policies designed to address injustice has contributed to weakening vertical cohesion between state and society. Analysing these two core conflict issues, access to service delivery and livelihood strategies, this article argues that the interaction of the political settlement and the ability of institutions to deliver effectively has negatively affected state-society relations and the legitimacy of the reconciliation agenda meant to support inter-group cohesion.
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