Measuring Progressive Realisation

Section 27(1)(c) of the South African Constitution guarantees to all the right of access to social security, and the right to social assistance for all who are unable to provide for themselves and their dependents.

This guarantee is subject to the internal limitation of S27(2) that states that universal access must be progressively realised within the state’s available resources. Social security, or guaranteed income replacement safety programmes, is a fundamental human right. The wording of S27(1)(c) draws from Article 9 of the 1966 UN International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. We have the benefit of General Comment 19 issued by the Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) in 2008.

States are obliged to progressively realise access. In the event that regressive steps are taken states are obliged to justify these regressive steps. In the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis and Covid-19. CESCR SPI developed a 3 Stage Methodology for the measurement of progressive realisation of socio-economic rights. Using this methodology we undertook baseline studies for all line departments and in 2018 undertook a follow up to measure the rate of progress.

The three stages of the measurement is a Policy and Jurisprudential Review, a Budget Review and finally we have developed 2AQ Indicators of Enjoyment – namely Access, Adequacy and Quality.

In 2022 we are revisiting Social Assistance provisioning as an aspect of Social Security in South Africa. We shall be launching the stages of research with public webinars as the papers are ready for release. This works towards the call by SPI for a universal decent basic income grant for all.


Find all resources on Social Security from SPI & joint Civil Society/Organisations below: