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MEDIA STATEMENT ISSUED JOINTLY BY THE SA HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION AND THE STUDIES IN POVERTY AND INEQUALITY INSTITUTE IN RESPONSE TO THE 2011 BUDGET

Date: Thursday, 24 February 2011

An analysis conducted by the South African Human Rights Commission (Commission) and the Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute on the national Budget released yesterday, revealed that there is congruence between the intentions of the State of the Nation Address and the overall budget allocations.

Fundamental to the state’s realisation of its transformative mandate is its constitutional obligation to progressively realise economic and social rights. This obligation starts with access for the most vulnerable and then proceeds to full and universal realisation.

According to the Chief Executive Officer of the Commission, Mr Kayum Ahmed, “This budget provides for real increases for most of the critical socio-economic rights but we as a nation still have to grapple with undoing the structural nature of inequality in South Africa. The Commission believes that this budget suggests that this administration is committed in the long run to the realisation of its constitutional mandate. However, the Commission’s 7th Economic and Social Rights Report has shown that the realisation of rights has much to do with the capacity and comprehension of organs of state of their constitutional mandate as it has to do with budgetary allocations. As such, the Commission remains cautious about the budget.”

Isobel Frye, director of SPII, a not for profit research and policy analysis institute said: “We agree with the position of the Commission in general.  The budget sets out how the state seeks to provide a social wage on which to build a developmental state. Our concern, however, lies in the modalities for people to enter into productive economic activities. The state has been consistent in its refusal to introduce social assistance to support the roughly 5 million unemployed, and the economy appears to be equally consistent in its inability to support their efforts to become economically active. Working out ways to undo the drivers of economic exclusion is required before the economic liberation, referred to by Minister in his speech, can be won.”

Over the next two weeks, the Commission and SPII will continue to monitor and provide an analysis of the various departmental budget votes.

The Commission and SPII will make the analysis available to the media and it will also be placed on the Commission's website.

    ENDS

For further information, please contact:

Vincent Moaga, South African Human Rights Commission, 073 562 9866.

Isobel Frye or Stephanie Brockerhoff, Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute, 011 8330161.

For comments email info@sahrc.org.za [Back]



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