Economics and Human Rights Podcast Series – Episode 1

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South Africa’s Socio-Economic Rights Framework And Macroeconomic Policy

South Africa is hailed as having one of the most progressive constitutions in the world, one that guarantees socio-economic rights, yet it suffers from alarming levels of poverty, unemployment and inequality.

  • Why have the principles of the constitution not been realised 27 years into democracy?
  • Why does macroeconomic policy in South Africa not speak to the material well-being of ordinary South Africans?
  • Why have civil society organisations not been able to successfully advocate for socio-economic rights realisation?
  • And what are the opportunities that come from bringing economics and human rights together?

In this short podcast series by the Institute for Economic Justice we explore these questions and more, reflecting on a year-long project which explored how we could bring together economics and human rights in South Africa.

Over the course of five episodes we will look at the history of South Africa’s human rights legislation and activism, it’s economic policy post-1994, the limitations of human rights activism with respect to economic policy, the impact of those limitations and the opportunities that bringing economics and human rights together can have in creating an economy that works for the many, not the few.

In our first episode we cover the development of South Africa’s human rights regime alongside its post-apartheid macroeconomic trajectory.

The episode further covers austerity and its impacts; the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR); and the findings of the latter on South Africa’s current social and economic policies.

In this episode, hosted by Carilee Osborne, we hear from IEJ Director, Dr Gilad Isaacs, IEJ alum, Busi Sibeko, the Editor of Maverick Citizen, Mark Heywood, and Professor Sandy Liebenberg, a member of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.