Constitutional Basis for the Enforcement of ''Executive'' Policies that give effect to Socio-economic Rights in South Africa

  • ON Fuo


Although "executive" policies remain an important governance tool, there appears to be confusion on the status and possible basis for their judicial enforcement in South Africa. The aim of this article is to critically reflect on the status and possible constitutional basis for the enforceability of "executive" policies that give effect to socio-economic rights in South Africa. Based on the jurisprudence of courts and some examples of "executive" policies, this article demonstrates that the constitutional basis for the enforceability of "executive" policies could be located inter alia in the positive duties imposed on government by sections 24(b), 25(5), 26(2) and 27(2) of the Constitution to "take reasonable legislative and other measures" within the context of available resources to give effect to relevant rights. This article argues that these duties amount to a constitutional delegation of authority to the legislative and executive branches of government to concretise socio-economic rights. In addition, this article demonstrates that where "executive" policies give effect to socio-economic rights pursuant to powers delegated by enabling provisions in original legislation that covers the field of socio-economic rights, such policies may be perceived to have the force of law, thereby providing a legal basis for their judicial enforcement.

Keywords: Constitution, socio-economic rights, positive duties, delegation of authority, executive policies and judicial enforcement.


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eISSN: 1727-3781