Tools and methods used for formulating and analysing government budgeting for the progressive realisation of socio-economic rights
A Guide for State and non-State Human Rights Advocates and Researchers
Budget analysis is a key component of SER monitoring. It allows human rights advocates to
analyse budgetary decisions made by governments, beginning with enforceable obligations
under international and national law. Thus, an SER budget analyst must understand
Armed with these skills and numbers, budget analysts can assess governments’ budgetary policies from a human rights basis, bringing to light successes and gaps, and providing viable alternatives to current spending where necessary.
This Guide will provide an overview of each of these aspects of SER monitoring, and how they
translate in the South African context, with reference to practical examples used by civil society
to monitor the advancement of SER through budget analysis. It is envisioned that the Guide will
provide a useful resource for human rights advocates to understand the process of monitoring
the progressive realisation of SER using tools of budget analysis. It is also hoped that the Guide
will inform renewed and coordinated activism amongst civil society groups and organisations
interested in SER monitoring, through the production of evidence-based research required
to assist the government to reprioritise the budget in a manner that advances, rather than
hinders, the full realisation and enjoyment of SER.
The development of this Guide was informed by a variety of actors and perspectives, including
policy-makers involved in SER budget decision-making processes, and researchers and
organisations that monitor the advancement of SER in South Africa. A Roundtable discussion,
hosted by SPII and the SAHRC, brought together these various actors to discuss:
how the government budget is formulated and implemented in a manner that either advances,
or inhibits, the progressive realisation of socio-economic rights, within – and to the maximum of –
Presentations were made by representatives of the National Treasury, Open Democracy Advice
Centre, Socio-Economic Rights Institute, Black Sash, Social Justice Coalition, Equal Education
and the Public Service Accountability Monitor.
The Roundtable unpacked the conceptual challenges and opportunities of engaging in SER
budget work; how the South African Constitution informs budget prioritisation, formulation
and implementation; the availability of data that is transparent and accessible; and the practical
implications of monitoring the advancement of SER through budget analysis.