The Realisation of Indigent Widows’ Right to Social Security in South Africa: Pitfalls and Opportunities




social assistance, social security, indigent widows, widowhood rites, human rights


Despite the provision of the apex law of South Africa that everyone has the right to access to social security and social assistance, if they cannot provide for themselves, indigent widows are not enjoying their constitutional right. A legislative gap exists in the Social Assistance Act, as the enabling legislation makes it difficult for indigent widows to enjoy social assistance. There is scant literature on the subject of widows in general and the said few writings are on the sufferings faced by this cohort. However, there is a dearth of literature on how social assistance may be extended to cover indigent widows. Using the doctrinal research method as well as relying on the feminist approach to the human rights theory, this article examines the need to realise indigent widows’ right to social security. It further advances possible solutions that could help safeguard the social security rights of destitute widows in South Africa. Recommendations are given on how indigent widows may be included in the social security legislation.


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How to Cite

Mokoena, Untalimile Crystal, and Ademola Oluborode Jegede. 2023. “The Realisation of Indigent Widows’ Right to Social Security in South Africa: Pitfalls and Opportunities”. Southern African Public Law 38 (2):35 pages.



Received 2022-09-11
Accepted 2023-12-21
Published 2023-12-28