Policy brief – Towards Transformation June 2013 – Measuring, Monitoring & Evaluating Socio-Economic Rights in South Africa

Few people would disagree that the realisation of socio-economic rights (SERs) is key for overcoming South Africa’s persistent struggle with poverty and inequality. The Constitution guarantees justiciable socio-economic rights. Although people therefore can approach the courts if they feel that these rights are not being respected, the Constitution, however, subjects these rights to the internal limitation of “progressive realisation subject to available resources”. The limitation clause is silent on timeframes, the percentage or coverage of people over time or even how the State should finance access to socio-economic rights. The challenge for policy makers and oversight bodies alike is how best we are able to evaluate government programmes and budget allocations against this binding obligation on the state. For example, how do we characterise a national budget that increases the age eligibility for child support grants, but fails to increase the grant value in line with inflation, thus effectively reducing the already meagre purchasing power of those who are already in receipt of the grants?

Full document: Policy brief – Towards Transformation June 2013