Seminar on Assessing the Impact of Social Rights Litigation in South Africa: With Particular Reference to Constitutional Court Jurisprudence

The Faculty of Law, University of the Western Cape, in conjunction with the Dullah Omar Institute, University of the Western Cape, cordially invites you to a panel discussion that considers the impact of social rights litigation in South Africa.

Social rights litigation has been employed to advance the realisation of socio-economic rights guaranteed in the Constitution. Some of the social rights cases have focused mainly on the realisation of the right to housing and a few others on the rights to health, water, sanitation and education. Litigants involved in these cases are mainly non-governmental organisations (NGOs) providing support to communities or individuals that have suffered violations of their rights. Social rights litigation can provide redress for violations of rights and then ensure accountability on the part of the state to realise socio-economic rights. In some situations, social rights may lead to multiplier effects as the outcome may go beyond the parties to the case and have implications for the society as a whole. In addition, social rights litigation can serve as a catalyst for empowering disadvantaged communities to secure their rights. In some jurisdictions such as India and Colombia, social rights litigation has been used to secure the provision of essential services for the people. Questions have been asked as to whether there should be boundaries to the use of social litigation and the extent the court should be involved in this situation. 

Against this backdrop, this seminar brings together distinguished speakers – one from the civil society group and the other a retired Constitutional Court Justice. It will assess the role of NGOs in social rights litigation, the impact of the cases and the role envisaged for the court in this process. These speakers will share their experiences as a litigant and as a former Justice of the Constitutional Court involved in social rights litigation.

Welcome Remarks: Prof Jacques de Ville (Dean, Faculty of Law, University of the Western Cape)

Moderator: Justice Steven Majiedt (Constitutional Court of South Africa)


  • Ms Nomzamo Zondo (Executive Director, Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI)
  • Justice Johan Froneman (Former Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa)

Question and Answer Session

Word of Thanks: Ms Gladys Mirugi-Mukundi (Socio-Economic Rights Project, Dullah Omar Institute, University of the Western Cape)

August 14, 2023
From: 18:00  
to 19:30
(UTC +02:00)
Location: Kader Asmal Moot Court, Faculty of Law, University of the Western Cape
Country(ies): South Africa
Event Type: Hybrid, Physical, Virtual, Meeting
Languages: English
Campaign Partners:
Africa Criminal Justice Reform
Socio-Economic Rights Institute