20 February 2012

The 20th of February marks the United Nations’ World Day of Social Justice

This day was established by the United Nations organisation and officiated on 10 June 2008 (first observed in 2009) and is aimed at stamping out poverty and promoting social integration around the world.

Now in its third year, this significant day also focuses on the goal of achieving full employment as it became apparent through observance that high levels of unemployment and poverty are the biggest causes of social unrest in any given region.

This initiative has been welcomed with much enthusiasm around the world with The Russian General Confederation of Trade Unions declaring that the common slogan would be "Social Justice and Decent Life for All".

Although South Africa has been ranked as a middle-income country by the UN's Development Programme's Human Development Index, poverty and unemployment are still prevalent in alarming proportions.

It is also argued and supported by various stats that the way in which the income is distributed across the population is highly skewed. It is estimated that some 39 per cent of the population lives on less than R388 a month. This has led to discontentment resulting in social unrest.

There is a high prevalence of poor service delivery protests, wage strikes and crimes committed by people who claim to be driven by poverty hence their adoption of criminal or illegal means of survival.

To forge a way forward through observing such initiatives, perhaps countries like South Africa may be driven to speed up the formulation of solutions to deal with the eradication of poverty, unemployment and crime - in order to achieve a socially just society and a content citizenry.