n Law, Democracy & Development - Protection and enforcement of the right to social security

Volume 4, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1028-1053
  • E-ISSN: 2077-4907



A fundamental reform of the social security system is a way of redressing past injustices that occurred in South Africa. It would appear that this reformative approach is in particular borne out by the provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa 108 of 1996. For the first time in the history of South Africa the Constitution compels the state to ensure the "progressive realisation" of social security. Section 27 shows a clear and unambiguous undertaking by the state to develop a comprehensive social system. It states that everyone has the right to have access to social security, including, if they are unable to support themselves and their dependants, appropriate social assistance (s 27 (1 )(b)) and that the state must take reasonable legislative and other measures, within its available resources, to achieve the progressive realisation of each of these rights (s 27(2)).

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