A capabilities approach to the judicial review of resource allocation decisions impacting on socio-economic rights

Van Der Berg, Shanelle (2015-12)

Thesis (LLD)--Stellenbosch University, 2015

Thesis

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Die verwesenliking van sosio-ekonomiese regte, dikwels deur middel van administratiefreg, is ʼn voorvereiste van kritieke belang vir die transformasie van die Suid Afrikaanse samelewing. Hulpbronne is integraal tot die verwesenliking van sosio-ekonomiese regte. Hulpbronne is egter beperk. Moeilike toedelingsbesluite moet dus gemaak word aangesien die vervulling van verskillende regte, en die kort- en langtermyn programme vir verligting van armoede, almal meeding om hulpbronne. Die primêre navorsingsvraagstuk wat hierdie proefskrif aanspreek is hoe Amartya Sen en Martha Nussbaum se vermoënsbenadering kan bydra tot die ontwikkeling van ʼn teoretiese paradigma vir die regterlike hersiening van die Staat se toewysingsbesluite wat ʼn impak op sosio-ekonomiese regte het. Hierdie proefskrif identifiseer sleutel raakpunte wat bestaan tussen die vermoënsteorie en die eienskappe van Suid Afrika se projek van transformerende konstitusionalisme. Sodra hierdie kernbeginsels geïdentifiseer is, moet dit deurgaans in die beoordelingsproses nagekom word. In hierdie proefskrif word die noodsaak vir die ontwikkeling van ʼn vermoënsgebaseerde hersieningstandaard vir besluite oor die toewysing van Staatshulpbronne bepaal. Dienooreenkomstig word ʼn vermoënsgebaseerde standaard vir hersiening ontwerp. Die gewigstoekenningsoefening wat die gradering van vermoëns vereis, is deeglik ontwikkel om voorsiening te maak vir gevalle waar uiteenlopende regte meeding om voorrang en hulpbrontoewysing, of waar lang- en korttermyn vermoënsverwesenliking meeding om hulpbronne. Daar word nietemin gewaarsku dat ʼn vermoëns-gesentreerde gewigstoekenningsoefening slegs haalbaar is indien die howe bereid is om sosio-ekonomiese regte substantief te vertolk. Die vertolking van die inhoud van die ter sake reg met verwysing na die vermoëns wat dit verteenwoordig in ʼn bepaalde historiese, sosiale en feitelike konteks maak die eerste fase van die twee-stap analise uit. By die tweede fase van die regte-ontleding kan ʼn vermoëns-gesentreerde proporsionaliteitsontleding toegepas word op die bevraagtekende toewysingsbesluit. Laastens word die kontoere van ʼn vermoënsbenadering tot remedies ondersoek, waarvolgens die doelmatigheid van ʼn remedie gemeet word aan die potensiaal om vermoënsrealisering te bewerkstellig. Aldus kan die howe die Staat dwing tot verantwoordingspligtigheid, ʼn responsiewe ingesteldheid en openheid deur te vereis dat die Staat sy toewysingsbesluite verantwoord in die lig van die normatiewe konteks en doelwitte van sosio-ekonomiese regte. Indien redelike hulpbrontoewysingsbesluite vereis word, kan die howe help om te verseker dat die Staat sy hulpbronne aanwend vir sosio-ekonomiese vermoënsbewerkstelling op ʼn sistematiese vlak. Wanneer hulpbronne toegewys word om vermoënsbehoeftes te realiseer, word dit vir die sosio-ekonomies-benadeelde lede van ons samelewing moontlik om hul potensiaal te ontsluit en te kies om ʼn betekenisvolle lewe te leef. Sodoende word ʼn samelewing gekenmerk deur vryheid, menswaardigheid en gelykheid vir almal ʼn realistiese vooruitsig

ENGLISH ABSTRACT : The realisation of socio-economic rights – often through the medium of administrative law – is a critical prerequisite for the transformation of South African society. Resources are integral to the fulfilment of socio-economic rights. However, resources are finite. Difficult allocative choices must thus be made since the fulfilment of different rights, and short-term and long-term poverty alleviation programmes, all compete for resources. The primary research problem that this dissertation addresses is how Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum’s capabilities approach can contribute to the development of a theoretical paradigm for the judicial review of State resource allocation decisions that impact on socio-economic rights. This dissertation identifies key linkages that exist between the capabilities theory and the characteristics of South Africa’s project of transformative constitutionalism. Once these central tenets are identified, they should be observed throughout the adjudicatory process. In this dissertation the need for the development of a capabilities-based standard of review for the adjudication of State resource allocation decisions is assessed. Thereafter, a capabilities-based standard of review is designed. The weighting exercise required for the ranking of capabilities is carefully developed to cater for instances where diverse rights compete for prominence and resource allocation, or where long-term and short-term capability realisation vies for resources. However, it is cautioned that a capabilities-centred weighting exercise is only feasible where courts are willing to substantively interpret socio-economic rights. The interpretation of the content of the relevant right with reference to the capabilities it represents in a particular historical, social and factual context constitutes the first stage of the two-stage analysis. At the second stage of the rights-analysis, a capabilities-centred proportionality analysis can be applied to the impugned allocative decision. Finally, the contours of a capabilities approach to remedies are explored, whereby the efficacy of a remedy is measured by its potential to effect capability realisation. Thus, courts can extract accountability, responsiveness and openness from the State by requiring it to justify its allocative choices in the light of the normative content and purposes of socio-economic rights. Where reasonable resource allocation decisions are required, courts can help ensure that the State directs its resources to socio-economic capability realisation at a systemic level. Where resources are allocated to realise capability needs, it becomes possible for the socio-economically disadvantaged members of our society to unlock their potential and choose to live meaningful lives. In this way, a society characterised by freedom, dignity and equality for all becomes a realistic prospect.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/98003
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