Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights in South Africa

In recent years, the Clinic has worked in close collaboration with local non-profit organizations on a range of economic, social, and cultural rights.

The Clinic has partnered with the Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) at the University of the Witwatersrand, conducting legal research and interviewing individuals to support CALS in representing communities in inner-city Johannesburg. This right to housing work helped advance arguments about the state’s obligations with regards to whether family members could be separated during evictions.

In partnership with the Legal Resources Centre (LRC), the Clinic has done a number of projects, including ones related to the right to water and the protection of the environment. The Clinic also worked on the challenge of sexual violence committed against students in schools, proposing a multi-faceted strategy of school-based reforms to dramatically reduce such violence. In carrying out the projects with LRC, the Clinic conducted extensive research and traveled to interview dozens of individuals, including community members, NGO representatives, academics, advocates, and government officials.

Most recently, in 2012, the Clinic began working with Equal Education Law Centre (EELC) to protect the right to education enshrined in South Africa’s constitution. Nearly twenty years after the end of apartheid, the education system is characterized by poor quality and widespread inequality that disproportionately impacts historically disadvantaged communities. To address these systemic problems, the Clinic is supporting EELC’s efforts to litigate on behalf of individual clients; to make submissions and recommendations to relevant government institutions and committees; to conduct legal, policy, and other related research; and to assist affected communities and community-based organizations.

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