Provision of social security for permanent residents in South Africa

Country: South Africa
Body: Constitutional Courts
Case: Louis Khosa and Others versus Minister of Social Development and Others
Case number: CCT 12/03
Year of judgement: 2004
PDF of decision

The case was brought before the Constitutional Court of South Africa by Mozambican citizens living in South Africa as permanent residents. The applicants challenged the validity of certain provisions of the Social Assistance Act 59 of 1992 that denied social assistance to foreign nationals. They cited the infringement of the right to equality and social security, and the rights of children and requested the striking down of the requirement of citizenship for social security entitlements. The case was heard by the Pretoria High Court, which struck down the discriminatory provisions and ordered the Director-General of Social Development and the MEC for Health and Welfare in the Northern Province to pay the applicants the required amounts including arrears. The Constitutional Court upheld the decision and reiterated that the Constitution guaranteed the right to social security to everyone, including all permanent residents. The Court observed that exclusion of permanent residents amounted to the infringement of the right to equality and thus violated the Constitutional guarantees.

Social Protection and Human Rights