The South African constitution, hailed by one commentator as “unparalleled…revolutionary and heroic”
protects a number of socio economic rights, enumeratingthem in its bill of rights. Those granted explicit protection include:-Rights dealing with labour relations
-Property rights, for example the right of equitable access to land
-The rights of access to adequate housing, for example a prohibition onarbitrary evictions.
-The rights of access to health care, sufficient food and water
-The right to social security
-The right to basic and on-going education
-Right of detained persons to be provided with adequate nutrition,accommodation, medical care and reading material.
As Mubangizi has noted, these third generation rights are those which reflect specificareas of basic need, and “create entitlements to material conditions of humanwelfare”.
Such rights guarantee a citizen’s access to commodities that are regardedas “basic necessities of life, rather than just an adequate standard of living”.
The South African Constitution’s laudably progressive attitude towards socio-economic rights is evident not only from the fact that it affords explicit protection tothese entitlements, but also from the way in which these rights are treated
theconstitution. There is no hierarchy of rights, and no effort is made to classify or separate the different categories of entitlements. First, second, and third generation
E. C. Chriatiansen ‘Adjudicating non justiciable rights : socio economic rights and the South AfricanConstitutional Court’
Columbia Human Rights Law Review
38:263:2007 at p.321
Section 24, eg section 24(a) provides that everyone has the right to an environment that is notharmful to their wellbeing, and section 24(b) places a duty on the state to prevent pollution and other damage to the environment
J.C. Mubanizi, ‘constitutionalism and justiciability of socio economic rights’ – paper delivered at theVII world congress of the international association of constitutional law, Athens 11 – 15 June 2007 at p.2