Projects

Social Justice and COVID-19 Policy and Relief Monitoring Alliance (SCOPRA)

Purpose

The purpose of the project is to constitute a social accountability bulwark that regularly tracks all Coronavirus COVID-19 policies and relief measures to assess and ensure compliance with the equality duty and related social justice commitments, other human rights obligations and democratic governance dictates with a view to fostering social justice, the rule of law, sustainable democracy and peace in line with UN Sustainable development Goals (SDGs) particularly, equality (10), the rule of law (16) and international cooperation (17).

The project has three (3) components:

  1. Monitoring policy responses including applying the SIAM and SIAS to test for constitutional compliance and social justice;
  2. Monitoring implementation; and
  3. Distribution of relief.

Updates: Read more about the Chair's work on COVID-19. Read the latest articles →

Background

The project is an outcome of two digital Social Justice Roundtables, in which local and international social justice experts and others assessed the social impacts of the Coronavirus COVID-19 policy responses to it, focussing on the impact of poverty and inequality, particularly taking into account the systemic legacy of poverty and inequality in South Africa. The roundtables were backed by seven (7) thematic working groups. These groups focussed on the impact of COVID-19 and Policy responses on: Poverty Mapping, Food Security and other Social Rights, Education, Rule of Law and Policy Tracking, Gender, Economy and Economic Rights and Health and Mental Health.

The Social Justice Roundtables and seven (7) thematic working groups were convened by the Chair in Social Justice research at Stellenbosch University in response to social justice concerns, following the declaration of a state of disaster by the South African Government on 15 March restricting movement, social intercourse and commerce, in terms of the Disaster Management Act of 2002. The restrictions, which essentially seek to contain the transmission of COVID-19, prevent a deluge of demand for limited health services, including ventilators and also combat predatory commercial practices such as exponential price inflation, subsequently resulted in a national lockdown.

The Roundtable concluded that some of the Regulations, Guidelines, Directions, Statements and By-Laws issued under the Disaster Management Act were unduly disruptive on the socio-economic lives of certain sections in society identified in terms of the prohibited ground of discrimination in the Constitution, the African Charter on Human Rights and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, read with its supporting conventions and related instruments. The conclusion was that the undue hardship inflicted on certain groups such as women, rural communities, township residents and economies, those with mental health and disadvantaged learners and students, among others, could have been prevented if government had used disaggregated data and data analytics and involved all end user groupings in the policy design process. The dialogues further concluded that government needs to give due regard to the equality duty and related social justice obligations in COVID-19 policy responses and all other policy making processes.

The roundtable further concluded that in some instances there was a gap between policy and implementation and as a result many groups and communities were falling through the cracks particularly with regard to fair and equal access to adequate health services and distribution of COVID-19 relief. This resulted in the formation of the Social Justice and COVID-19 Policy and Relief Monitoring Alliance (SCOPRA), which monitors ongoing unintended consequences of both policies and conduct of state functionaries and others across all Working Group domains.

Objectives

Establishing a secretarial and ward based tentacles social accountability forum dedicated to constantly assessing and ensuring:

  1. That the government and businesses are aware of social impact conscious and social justice responsive policy making
  2. Law and purpose fidelity of implementation
  3. No one is left behind, at ward level and groups
  4. Weekly feedback to government by way of a Policy and Rule of Law Index and Socio-Economic Relief Delivery Dash Board disaggregated by municipalities and selected disadvantaged groups
  5. Empowering the citizens through information on what they are entitled to, where to go for help and who to hold accountable, linking them where necessary
  6. Involving the international community

Desired Outputs and Outcomes

Outputs

  1. Roundtables and reports
  2. Thematic group dialogues and reports
  3. Digital Policy and Rule of Law Index
  4. Digital Socio-Economic Relief Coverage Dash Board
  5. Vibrant social accountability network on Social Justice and Coronavirus COVID-19

Outcomes

  1. Social justice impact awareness among key policy makers in government
  2. An increase in socially just policies
  3. Fair distribution of all Coronavirus COVID-19 Socio-Economic relief across all municipal wards and groups
  4. Rationalisation of private socio-economic relief services across all municipal wards and underserviced groups
  5. Improved social accountability among ordinary persons thus exposing and reducing corruption, clientelism, capture
  6. Improved public trust and sustained legitimacy of COVID-19 Policy measures
  7. Enhanced achievement of SDG objectives relating to hunger, poverty, inequality and peace

Key Beneficiaries

  1. All persons and communities in 4392 wards paying special attention to the plight of groups historically disadvantaged in terms of social class, race, gender, disability, age, nationality, geographic area.
  2. Project to be scaled to the rest of Africa in four (4) months’ time.

Read more about the Chair's work on COVID-19

Read the latest articles →

LexisNexis COVID-19 Resource Centre

The Law Trust Chair in Social Justice is partnering with LexisNexis.

COVID-19 represents a common enemy that we are all fighting across the globe. It continues to test all aspects of our societies - our people, our infrastructure, our systems and processes - and indeed, even our understanding and implementation of the Rule of Law.

Legal technology company, LexisNexis South Africa, has drawn upon its global expertise to launch a COVID-19 Free Resource Centre aimed at informing the public of its rights and responsibilities during this period, as well as the rights and obligations of employers, employees and businesses.

The COVID-19 portal provides free access to a convenient online platform housing resources and information that cover a variety of general public themes such as Labour Law, Immigration, Property and Planning, as well as Notices, Court Directives and Regulations pertaining to COVID-19.

The site also includes commentary from legal experts around the country on emerging themes and topics around COVID-19 matters. In addition, LexisNexis’s editorial team has made available COVID- 19 legislation and regulation changes on the same site at no cost to the public. This provides direct access to a consolidated and authoritative source of COVID-19 regulatory information, together with useful tips, data and other helpful resources.

Visit the LexisNexis resource centre →
About the Chair:

Professor Thulisile “Thuli” Madonsela, an advocate of the High Court of South Africa, is the law trust chair in social justice and a law professor at the University of Stellenbosch, where she conducts and coordinates social justice research and teaches constitutional and administrative law.

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