Case Summaries

The PILS sector in South Africa has been able to correct some of the worst failures of the state and private sector through public interest litigation, which has itself been accompanied by effective legal and non-legal activism. For example, the failure to respond to the HIV/AIDS crisis with effective programmes to provide anti-retroviral medication, the failure to address the needs of those who face homelessness through eviction or disaster, exclusionary and administratively unjust aspects of the social security regime, inadequate provision of water, and unlawful disconnections of electricity, have all been addressed through public interest litigation, as have unfair banking practices. Beyond socio-economic rights, civil society participation in commissions of inquiry – most notably after Marikana, in Khayelitsha and in connection with the Arms Deal – have underscored the need for the defence of civil and political rights.