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From the 21st– 24thof March 2019, SERI participated in the second annual Human Rights Festival hosted by Constitutional Hill. The event aimed to celebrate the freedoms available to individuals and groups under our constitutional democracy. The festival also emphasised the diverse array of hurdles which still prevent communities from enjoying the sanctity of these rights on a daily basis.  

As part of  SERI’s participation in the festival our researchers, Tiffany Ebrahim and Thato Masiangoako contributed a short reflection on South Africa’s socio-economic progress since 1994 on Constitution Hill’s blog. Ebrahim and Masiangoako argue that while South Africa’s constitutional democracy has made considerable gains in 25 years, the nature of poverty and inequality has become increasingly intersectional. This means that the nature of disadvantage should consider race, gender, age, physical disability and physical location as factors that further exclude people from the realisation of human rights such as housing and other basic services. In informal settlements, where around 3.6-million people live, secure tenure and access to dignified services remain significant challenges. Despite South Africa’s progressive legal and policy framework, government efforts and resources continue to impose mass evictions, displacement and relocations of residents. Poor policy implementation, under-spent budgets and a lack of political will have severely frustrated efforts to secure socio-economic rights in South Africa. The reality is a lot worse for society’s most vulnerable groups, particularly in housing and basic services for women living with disabilities.

Read SERI’s blog post for the festival here.