News & events


Public Opinion: Realising Socio-economic Rights in South Africa

14 March 2017
12:30 - 14:00

Presenters: Prof Narnia Bohler-Muller, Dr Yul Derek Davids and Dr Steven Gordon, Democracy, Governance and Service Delivery (DGSD), HSRC

Chair: Mrs Rachel Adams, Research Use and Impact Assessment (RIA), HSRC

Date: 14 March 2017  | Time:  12h30 – 14h00  | Venues: Pretoria, Durban, Cape Town

Our Constitution has provided a roadmap to move South Africa away from an oppressive apartheid state to a democratic one characterised by freedom, respect for human rights, and the rule of law. The Constitution has created hope for social justice, increased freedoms and prosperity for historically disadvantaged South Africans. However, the Human Rights Watch World Report 2017 states that “public confidence in the South African government’s willingness to tackle human rights violations, corruption, and respect for the rule of law has eroded”.

Presentation is available for download below

Consequently, this seminar examines South Africans’ concerns about their fundamental rights, and particularly socio-economic rights. The Constitution provides that all who live in South Africa have rights to education, shelter, health care, food, water, and social security. These socio-economic rights are protected irrespective of social categories and status groups.

Furthermore, section 7(2) of the Bill of Rights provides that ‘The state must respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights in the Bill of Rights’. The core socio-economic rights focus areas we explore are 1) ’What do South African’s think about government performance in ensuring basic services such as access to water, electricity and housing.’, etc.; 2) How much is the South African government doing to ensure that people of all races have equal opportunities for housing, and education?; and 3) What are the household circumstances of South Africans after more than two decades of democracy? In addition, we examine political and civil rights such as freedom of movement, speech and protest action.

The HSRC seminar series is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST). The views and opinions expressed therein  as well as findings and statements of the seminar series do not necessarily represent the views of DST.

Cape Town : HSRC, 116-118 Merchant House, Buitengracht Street, Cape Town. Contact: Carmen August ,Tel (021) 4668004, Fax (021) 461 0299 or e-mail:
Durban :  The Atrium, 5th Floor, 430 Peter Mokaba Ridge, Berea, 4001 , Contact: Ridhwaan Khan, Tel (031) 242 5400, cell: 083 788 2786 or email: , or Hlengiwe Zulu at e-mail
Pretoria : HSRC Video Conference, 1st floor HSRC Library Human Sciences Research Council, 134 Pretorius Street, Pretoria. Arlene Grossberg, Tel: (012) 302 2811 or e-mail: