Letlhakwa Mpedi is an acclaimed scholar in the field of social security and labour law. He is also a member of the Board of Governance of the International Association of Law Schools in South Africa.
Lelthakwa is an internationally acclaimed researcher in the important field of social security law in South Africa, SADC and Anglophone Africa. He is the first black South African to be appointed as Professor and Executive Dean at the faculty of Law at the University of Johannesburg.
Being from a rural background and raised by an unemployed widow on a meagre workers compensation survivors benefit fuelled him to work hard. His work involves social security law, with a specific focus on South Africa and the SADC region.
His main focus is extending social security to the marginalised and vulnerable members of society, such as the domestic workers, informal sector and migrant workers. His work centres on the new risks in social security that were not catered for and now pose a threat, and its ability to shield vulnerable individuals and their families from social challenges such as poverty.
The attention on South Africa and the SADC is due to the desperate need for comprehensive social security systems to address widespread social risks currently facing the people in the region.
The hindrance in addressing these social risks is due to the dearth of current and quality research in that region. He intends to address that problem through, inter alia, research, the availability of an authoritative search that provides researchers with a “one-stop shop” for information on the integrated and regional instruments that shape social security in the SADC region.
Letlhakwa has done a lot of research work, including research around why vulnerable groups such as domestic workers, informal sector and migrant workers are not covered by social security schemes.
The research indicated that the labour laws do act as a gatekeeper for access to work-based contributory programmes. He indicated that such groups can be covered by widening the definition of the concept employee to cover excluded groups, and drawing lessons from emerging economies such as India. His work seeks to protect those vulnerable groups and develop solutions to address the challenges they face.
His vision is to continue doing research work particularly on the role that social security benefits in SADC can play in shaping social policy, to close the elusive regional integration gap. He also wants to venture into research focused on the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) on labour and social security law. He intends to continue coaching and developing up-and-coming academic and non-academic colleagues.