SER Budget Analysis

Socio-Economic Rights: Budget Analysis

The effectiveness of the state’s ability to address the very high levels of poverty and inequality in South Africa is intrinsically, but not only, dependant on the resources that it makes available to realise the socio-economic rights contained in the Constitution of South Africa. Tracking state allocation of funding, as well as the maximum utilisation of the allocated funds by state departments forms a critical part of oversight of state performance. As part of an on-going project to establish indicators for monitoring the progressive realisation of socio-economic rights over time, which SPII is undertaking in collaboration with the South African Human Rights Commission, this report serves to establish a baseline for SER expenditure.

Monitoring the progressive realisation of socio-economic rights raises conceptual challenges that are broader than, for instance, the monitoring of rights’ violations. It requires clear indicators and thresholds for people to assess whether, over time, the resources are being made available in sufficient transfers, to move towards the universal enjoyment of rights as directed by the Constitution.

As South Africa proceeds to ratify the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), the ability of both the state and oversight bodies to monitor its performance in this regard is critical.

In 2013, SPII set out to do just that, in: Working Paper 7: A Review of National and Provincial Budgets in South Africa: 2007/08 – 2011/12

SPII has been busy refining our methodology for SER budget analysis in South Africa with the support of the International Budget Partnership. This will be reflected in our updated review of national and provincial budgets set for release in September 2015.