The potential of meaningful engagement in realising socio-economic rights: Addressing quality concerns

Mahomedy, Sameera (2019-04)

Thesis (LLM)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT : The advent of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 (“the Constitution”) was a major milestone for South Africa in terms of redressing the atrocities of apartheid. While this has resulted in major developments, remnants of apartheid are still present and can be seen in the continuation of vast socio-economic inequalities. Access to housing and education still remains elusive to many South Africans, as indicated by the recent service delivery and higher education protests. Developing effective mechanisms for realising these rights is thus a high priority, including in the context of socio-economic rights litigation and adjudication. The doctrine of meaningful engagement developed by the Constitutional Court in housing and education rights cases offers a potentially innovative method for government, communities and other stakeholders to pursue the realisation of socio-economic rights. However, the potential of this participatory approach to socio-economic rights realisation remains contested, and its efficacy in practice has not yet been determined. A key challenge to its efficacy in realising the normative commitments of socioeconomic rights concerns the quality of the engagement that occurs between organs of state and various stakeholders. In light of the above, this thesis investigates the role that the quality of meaningful engagement plays in enhancing its efficacy as a mechanism to realise socio-economic rights. The thesis examines the justifications posited for using meaningful engagement as well as the importance of quality in achieving these justifications. Evaluative criteria for assessing the quality of engagement are developed. In addition to evaluating the quality of meaningful engagement in South Africa’s housing and education rights jurisprudence, the thesis examines meaningful engagement in an extra-judicial context, focusing on the #FeesMustFall Movement. The thesis concludes by making recommendations on how the quality of meaningful engagement could be improved, drawing on diverse theoretical literature pertaining to participatory democracy and critical theory.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Die aanvang van die Grondwet van die Republiek van Suid-Afrika, 1996 (“die Grondwet”) was ’n groot mylpaal vir Suid-Afrika in die regstelling van die gruweldade wat tydens apartheid gepleeg is. Alhoewel hierdie gebeurtenis belangrike ontwikkelings tot gevolg gehad het, is die effek van apartheid steeds sigbaar deur die teenwoordigheid van voortgesette sosio-ekonomiese ongelykhede. Toegang tot behuising en onderwys bly ontwykend vir baie Suid-Afrikaners, soos aangedui deur die onlangse diensverskaffing en hoër onderwys betogings. Die ontwikkeling van effektiewe meganismes vir die verwesenliking van hierdie regte is dus 'n hoë prioriteit, insluitend in die konteks van sosio-ekonomiese regte-litigasie en beregting. Die leerstuk van betekenisvolle onderhandeling wat deur die Konstitusionele Hof in sake wat handel oor die reg op behuising en onderwys, ontwikkel is, bied 'n potensieel innoverende metode waardeur die regering, gemeenskappe en ander belanghebbendes die realisering van sosio-ekonomiese regte kan nastreef. Die potensiaal van hierdie deelnemende benadering tot sosio-ekonomiese regterealisering bly egter betwis, en die doeltreffendheid daarvan in die praktyk is nog nie bepaal nie. 'n Belangrike uitdaging vir die doeltreffendheid van die prosesse wat daarop gemik is om die normatiewe verpligtinge van sosio-ekonomiese regte te verwerklik, het betrekking tot die gehalte van die onderhandeling wat tussen staatsorgane en verskeie belanghebbendes plaasvind. In die lig hiervan, ondersoek hierdie tesis die rol wat gehalte speel om betekenisvolle onderhandeling ʼn meer doeltreffende meganisme te maak om sosioekonomiese regte te verwesenlik. Die tesis ondersoek die regverdigings wat vir die gebruik van betekenisvolle onderhandeling aangevoer word sowel as die belang van gehalte om hierdie regverdigings te bereik. Kriteria vir die beoordeling van die gehalte van onderhandeling word ontwikkel. Benewens die evaluering van die gehalte van betekenisvolle onderhandeling in Suid-Afrikaanse regspraak wat oor die reg op behuising en onderwys handel, ondersoek die tesis betekenisvolle onderhandeling in 'n buite-geregtelike konteks, met die fokus op die #FeesMustFall Movement. Die tesis sluit af deur aanbevelings te maak oor hoe die gehalte van betekenisvolle onderhandeling verbeter kan word, met verwysing na ʼn diverse teoretiese literatuur rakende deelnemende demokrasie en kritiese teorie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/106132
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