South Africa ratified the United Nations Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), two decades after it was signed by former President Nelson Mandela. In terms of the Convention, South Africa presented its report on progress made in making rights a reality to the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The Committee is the body of 18 independent experts that monitors implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights by its state parties. The Committee took into consideration the initial report of South Africa, the reports of the South African Human Rights Commission and civil society organisations on the implementation of the ICESCR in October 2018.
The Committee made a series of Concluding Observations setting out how South Africa can improve its record in fulfilling socio-economic rights. The South African government is required in terms of its Covenant obligations to report back on its progress on the implementation of specified recommendations by October 2020 and provide another full report to the Committee by 31 October 2023.