Socio-economic Rights include the right to adequate housing, food, health services and water. In other words, these rights are basic essentials necessary to survive.

It differs from Civil and Political rights (the right to vote, freedom of speech, equality, etc.) necessary to lead a full life.

Our Human Rights (both Civil/ Political and Socio-economic) are found in Chapter Two of our Constitution, the Bill of Rights. The wording of our Constitution qualifies certain Socio-economic Rights.

Socio-economic rights can be qualified or unqualified 
· Qualified:
– Only if the State (Government) has sufficient resources to fulfil the right;
– The State will make these rights available within its means/ depending on its budget/ ‘within available resources.’
· Unqualified: 
– The State has a duty to make these rights available;
– This does not mean the State must make these rights available immediately or without delay (according to the Constitutional Court).


Human right violations: 
Speak to your hero/ attorney. Alternatively, you may contact the South African Human Rights Commission at
Note: non-nationals can also claim Socio-economic Rights. If you have a look at the wording used in the Bill of Rights, you’ll notice the word ‘everyone’ is used in the socio-economic sections. Also, in the Khosa case of 2004, the Constitutional Court once again highlighted that non-nationals are a vulnerable group in our society and should be protected.

Other rights, however, such as the right to vote and access to land, use the word ‘citizens.’

Wishing you a wonderful Friday and weekend,
Legal Hero

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