This dissertation focuses on the protection and promotion of the socio-economic rights of children with disabilities in South Africa. Socio-economic rights aim to ensure that material inequalities that are experienced by children with disabilities are addressed in a manner that acknowledges their dignity, freedom and equality. Particular attention is paid to the right to basic education and right to social services. The dissertation highlights how the protection and promotion of these rights has an impact on children with disabilities physical and mental development.
An extensive desktop research investigated the manner in which obligations placed on the state are being implemented. Selected international and regional instruments, as well as the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa and relevant national legislation are examined in so far as they relate to the protection of children with disabilities. Thereafter, the implementation of these legally based obligations is discussed.
The findings from the research show the existence of clearly expressed obligations in international and regional law, as well as commendable national legal frameworks that protect and promote the right to basic education and right to social services for children with disabilities. Despite this, children with disabilities still experience a number of discriminatory barriers that hinder their access to basic education and social services.
The dissertation concludes that more needs to be done by way of state action to ensure better interpretation and implementation of international and regional law as well as national law. Recommendations are given in this regard. Interpretation and implementation should be strengthen to ensure that children with disabilities benefit fully from access to basic education and social services.