On Thursday 28 February 2019 the Social Justice Coalition (SJC) will host a roundtable discussion on the costs of the state’s legal appeals at the SunSquare City Bowl hotel.
The South African Constitution stands out as one of the world’s best because of its unique Bill of Rights. The government has a duty not to interfere with the enjoyment of people’s rights and in the case of socio-economic rights, to take positive steps towards their realisation. The courts are empowered to enforce these rights should government fail to protect or to promote them.
In instances when the courts have found that the state has failed to uphold the Bill of Rights, the state has been resistant to comply with court orders. The government often chooses to appeal such decisions and entangle people in endless litigation.
Civil society organisations (who advocate and litigate for human rights on behalf of ordinary people who would otherwise have no access to the courts) are increasingly frustrated by these state appeals. These appeals result in high litigation costs for the state and civil society. In the 2017/2018 financial year, the Ministry of Police spent R333 124 000 on legal fees. This is just under a third of a billion rand on legal costs! Not only is this an expensive exercise, but it also means people’s human rights are suspended pending lengthy court outcomes.
The Social Justice Coalition has invited the Women’s Legal Centre, The Socio Economic Rights Institute, Equal Education Law Centre and Ndifuna Ukwazi to share their experiences with public interest litigation. The organisations will hold a round table discussion and collaborate on how advocacy around the issue could take shape.
***INVITATION & PROGRAMME ATTACHED
FOR COMMENT OR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
Musa Gwebani – 078 5167211
Co-head of Programmes
Social Justice Coalition