Human Rights Law Review
socio-economic rights, South Africa, Constitutional Law, negotiation, engagement
On 19 February 2008, the South African Constitutional Court handed down an important new socioeconomic rights decision, Occupiers of 51 Olivia Road v City of Johannesburg ('City of Johannesburg'). City of Johannesburg approved a landmark settlement between the City of Johannesburg and residents of several informal communities in Johannesburg who had sought to prevent the City from evicting them as part of an inner-city regeneration project. Rather than imposing a direct remedy, the Court instead constitutionalised a novel 'engagement' requirement in housing-rights cases. Engagement, which requires government entities to consult with residents affected by policy decisions that may involve eviction and publicly report on that process, offers a novel and potentially powerful mechanism for enforcing socioeconomic rights that limits court intervention in policy decisions.
Brian Ray, Occupiers of 51 Olivia Road v. City of Johannesburg: Enforcing the Right to Adequate Housing through Engagement, 8 Human Rights Law Review 703 (2008)