Joint Submission to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights on the occasion of the review of South Africa’s first period report at the 64th Session, October 2018

This submission outlines the key concerns and recommendations of the organizations listed above on the occasion of South Africa’s review before the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights at its 64th session in October 2018. It makes particular reference to issues insufficiently addressed or omitted from the State party’s first Periodic Report of April 2017 and seeks to respond to the questions put forth in the List of Issues adopted by the Committee’s Pre-sessional Working Group in November 2017.

Specifically, it explores in detail the State party’s obligation under Article 2(1) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to take steps making use of “maximum available resources.” First, it argues that the austerity measures the South African government is undertaking present a threat to economic, social and cultural rights. Second, it demonstrates that to negate the need for austerity, South Africa must maximize the availability of resources; this can be done by developing a more equitable tax policy that contributes to the redistribution of income and wealth and by intensifying efforts to tackle corruption and state capture. Finally, it illustrates how avoidable resource shortfalls are leading to violations of Covenant rights, by analyzing the effects of inadequate and inefficient resourcing on the rights to health (Article 12) and education (Article 13).