Socio-economic rights in Zimbabwe: Trends and emerging jurisprudence
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In a country such as Zimbabwe where many are deprived of opportunities and resources owing, in part, to injustices of the past, socio-economic rights are of the outmost importance. As a result, the new Constitution of Zimbabwe, adopted in 2013, expressly provides for socio-economic rights. While these are yet to be extensively tested, two cases discussed in the article illustrate the willingness of the courts to enforce these rights. In the Mushoriwa case, it is shown that state as well as non-state actors have to refrain from negatively interfering with constitutionally-protected and enforceable socio-economic rights. The Hopcik case shows that there is a positive obligation on the state, which may involve the allocation of resources, to ensure that socio-economic rights are realised. These two cases serve as a good platform from which the courts can continue to develop the jurisprudence on socio-economic rights in Zimbabwe. It is suggested that guidance in dealing with more complex socio-economic rights cases can also be obtained from South African jurisprudence, particularly from the Grootboom case.