The aim of this study was to investigate how Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) in South Africa balance sustainability with developmental objectives. Twelve semistructured, in-depth interviews were conducted with microfinance subject matter and microfinance institutions. The research found that commercialisation is not compatible with social impact as it leads to mission drift, which can be managed by an inclusive stakeholder governance structure. The trade-off between sustainability and social impact (outreach) was evident for commercial MFIs; while sustainability can be achieved through scale and cost management. In addition, MFIs achieve lower delinquency rate by implementing non-financial interventions such as client training and using group lending methodology that fosters social capital in the client base. The lack of a visible collaboration between MFIs has deprived the industry of a strong voice that can mobilise society to leverage the benefits of microfinance to help South Africa reduce inequalities. Despite the fact that regulatory restrictions concerning savings mobilisation for micro enterprise lenders are inhibiting product innovation and curtailing outreach, microfinance has proved to be a valuable tool that South Africa has not leveraged to alleviate poverty and reduce income inequalities.