JOURNAL OF UWC FACULTY OF LAW | ISSN 2077-4907 | Short URL www.ldd.org.za

The public finance implications of recent socia-economic rights judgments

Volume: Volume 6(2) - 2002

Article type: Refereed article

Author/s: Chetty, Kam

With reference to the three main Constitutional Court judgments on socio-economic rights, Kam Chetty analyses the obligations placed on the government and highlights five key public finance issues that influence the realisation of socio-economic rights. The first acknowledges the difficulty of addressing socio-economic rights, particularly in the context of significant institutional and resource constraints.

The second issue explores the distinction between constitutional obligations qualified by resource constraints and unqualified socio-economic rights The third concerns the economic factors that underpin resource availability and the approach taken by the courts towards resource questions. Fourthly, the author derives a framework for assessing the reasonableness of policy from the above three judgments. Finally, the paper suggests a framework for assessing whether public expenditure cuts can be justified. In conclusion, he argues that an approach that relies exclusively on litigation is inadequate to foster the realisation of socio-economic rights; of critical importance is the need to develop effective monitoring mechanisms for the public finance dimensions of socio-economic rights.

About the author/s

Kam Chetty

Municipal Manager, Boland District Municipality

Click here for biographical detail and publications listing

Click to view and download article

law library 01