|dc.description.abstract||According to the latest statistics it has been estimated that 72% of South
African children, or 4, 6 million aged 0-6, and 12, 3 million aged 0-18 are poor.
These children face shortages of food, clothing, and shelter. They also lack
access to basic services. It can therefore be argued with authority that basic
human dignity and other fundamental rights are denied to these children. In
order to facilitate South Africa's development as a democratic state based on
human dignity, freedom, and equality, the government has recently confirmed
its commitment to eradicate child poverty in particular.
The concept of socio-economic rights, more specifically the right of access to
adequate housing was introduced through section 26 of the Constitution of the
Republic of South Africa, 1996. This right entitles everyone, including children
to access to adequate housing. In terms of section 26(2) the state must take
reasonable legislative and other measures to progressively realise the right.
However, as confirmed by the Constitutional Court in The Government of the
Republic of South Africa and Others v Grootboom and Others 2000 11 BCLR
1169 (CC), the right of access to adequate housing is subject to the
availability of state resources. Section 28(l)(c) of the Constitution expressly
conferres upon children an additional right to basic shelter over and above
their right in terms of section 26. In this respect it must be remembered that a
child's right to basic shelter is subject to the same internal limitations as the
other socio-economic rights in the Bill of Rights.
The aim of this study was to analyse the possible utilisation of these rights in
order to alleviate poverty, while keeping in mind that the Constitutional Court
stressed that the realisation of socio-economic rights is key to the
advancement of South Africa as a democratic state. This dissertation mainly
focussed on children's socio-economic right to basic shelter in conjunction
with everyone's right of access to adequate housing. Therefore, when
discussing the legislative and other measures taken to implement these rights
as a reaction to poverty, focus was mainly on those measures relevant to the
housing problem. Further emphasis was also placed on the findings and
recommendations made concerning the realisation of housing rights in South
Africa by institutions such as the South African Human Rights Commission.
In response to the research and findings presented in this dissertation, the
following recommendations are made:
The South African Human Rights Commission emphasised that the
measures implemented to realise socio-economic rights such as the
right of access to adequate housing must be done in an integrated and
co-operative manner involving all three spheres of government. This
lies at the heart of any successful reaction to poverty, thus it can only
be stressed that the principles of co-operative government should be
included in any measure implemented.
Another problem facing the successful implementation of measures to
realise socio-economic rights is the prevailing incompetence of
department officials. It is recommended that government officials
receive the necessary training in resource management and
development planning. This would result in more effective
development plans to implement measures to realise socio-economic
Government especially at local level is riddled with corruption and
resource miss-management. This problem must be remedied on a
permanent basis as soon as possible.
It was found that the measures taken to alleviate the housing crisis in
South Africa focused mainly on the realisation of section 26, while
realising children's right to basic shelter on an indirect basis only. In
light of government's commitment to implement the principles of the
UNCRC it is submitted that measures should be taken on a
progressive basis that cater for the direct realisation of section 28(l)(c).
Measures, which is currently taken to realise children's right to basic
shelter, was found to be inadequate. This situation should be
remedied by amending the relevant legislation and enacting more
legislation, policies, and programmes specifically aimed at the
children's housing interests.||