Economics at your fingertips  

(In)equality and the South African Constitution

Catherine Albertyn

Development Southern Africa, 2019, vol. 36, issue 6, 751-766

Abstract: Does the South African Constitution constrain or empower government, courts and citizens in addressing systemic social and economic inequalities? This article argues that the Constitution is explicitly ‘transformative’, but is an enabling document, providing ‘scaffolding’ for political and legal activities. It is government, strong institutions and civil society that are ultimately responsible for securing its equality aspirations. Here the Constitution admits of different understandings of equality and different economic and social policy choices. This article identifies these contested meanings of equality and suggests that a liberal egalitarian/social democratic version is dominant in policy choices and the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court. It illustrates this with reference to the Court’s jurisprudence on equality, and suggests that more radical and transformative interpretations remain possible. However, it concludes that we cannot escape politics, the need for good policy choices and effective implementation and enforcement.

Date: 2019
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link) (text/html)
Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Ordering information: This journal article can be ordered from

DOI: 10.1080/0376835X.2019.1660860

Access Statistics for this article

Development Southern Africa is currently edited by Marie Kirsten

More articles in Development Southern Africa from Taylor & Francis Journals
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Chris Longhurst ().

Page updated 2020-09-04
Handle: RePEc:taf:deveza:v:36:y:2019:i:6:p:751-766