PRESS RELEASE: South African civil society organisations submit a parallel shadow report to the United Nations Treaty Body on the implementation of socio-economic rights

South Africa ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) in January 2015. As required by the ICESCR, the South African government submitted its initial report to the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) in April 2017.

In its inaugural report, South Africa articulated the steps and measures taken to comply with the provisions of the Covenant. It noted and emphasised a progressive Constitution that includes socio-economic rights such as the right to social security, right to access to adequate housing, health and education.

A coalition of civil society organisations called “South Africa’s Ratification Campaign of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and its Optional Protocol” (the Campaign) submitted a parallel report to the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), the international treaty body responsible for monitoring the implementation socio-economic rights by states.

The Campaign’s Steering Group is comprised of Black Sash, the Dullah Omar Institute (DOI), the People’s Health Movement South Africa (PHM-SA), the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI), and the Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute (SPII). (The Campaign also draws on expert inputs from the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) at the University of the Western Cape, and Prof Lilian Chenwi and Prof Jackie Dugard at the University of the Witwatersrand.)

The Campaign’s parallel report responds to the South African government’s first periodic report to the Committee on its progress in realising the rights contained in the ICESCR which is due for consideration by the Committee in its 64th session from 1-3 October 2018.  

The parallel report provides a civil society perspective on socio-economic rights realisation in South Africa, and raises questions about the state’s record in fulfilling these rights in order to promote greater accountability. It also reports on the compliance status of the government with regard to the ICESCR.

Actions to address the binding constraints to socio-economic rights realisation are increasingly urgent in a context of severe poverty and inequality. In its parallel report, the Campaign identifies for example the need for the state to address forced evictions and displacement; to assess the causes of under-expenditure on informal settlement upgrading; to address a lack of investment in infrastructure maintenance and services provision, and the urgent need to address intergovernmental cooperation issues that impacted severely in the management of the drought in the Western Cape.

In its parallel report, the Campaign makes clear recommendations with respect to:

  • food security;
  • access to remedies;
  • adequate housing;
  • water and sanitation;
  • health and
  • social grants.
  • Download the full parallel report here.
  • Download more information about the Committee’s 64th session (24 September – 12 October 2018) here.

Issued by the Campaign for South Africa's Ratification of the ICESCR and its Optional Protocol which comprises:

  • Black Sash
  • Dullah Omar Institute (DOI)
  • People’s Health Movement South Africa (PHM-SA)
  • Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI)
  • Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute (SPII)

For more information or interview requests, please contact:

Ebenezer Durojaye, Project Head & Senior Researcher, Socio-Economic Rights Project, Dullah Omar Institute (DOI), +27 84 577 0757; edurojaye@uwc.ac.za

Lilian Chenwi, Associate Professor, Wits School of Law, +27 72 172 6346; lilian.chenwi@wits.ac.za

Michael Clark, Senior Researcher, Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI); +27 82 535 6209; Michael@seri-sa.org

© 2016 Dullah Omar Institute
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