AIDC Submission to Constitutional Court in the Appeal of Labour Appeals Court’s Public Sector Wages Judgement
Alternative Information and Development Centre | Press Release | 12 August 2021
AIDC’s written submission to the Constitutional Court in the appeal against the Labour Appeal Court’s (LAC) judgment in Public Servants Association and Others v Minister of Public Service and Others.
The Alternative Information & Development Centre (AIDC) has submitted its written arguments to the Constitutional Court in the appeal against the Labour Appeal Court’s (LAC) judgment in Public Servants Association and Others v Minister of Public Service and Others.
The transformation of society and the realisation of constitutional rights requires a capable state and a healthy and well-managed and appropriately remunerated public service. Cuts to the public service, including wage increase freezes, threaten the rights in the Bill of Rights.
In 2015, South Africa ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. South Africa is accordingly now bound by ICESCR under international law. The CESCR has pertinently addressed the impact of austerity measures, including cutbacks to the public service, on socio-economic rights.
The AIDC submits that a proper constitutional understanding of the public service entails a constitutional obligation on the state to take positive steps to maintain the health of the public service and to appropriately manage (and remunerate) public servants. In the constitutional scheme, this is a necessary precondition for realising rights – not a price to be balanced against rights. This is recognised under the Constitution and under international law, especially ICESCR.
The corollary principle is that cuts to public servants’ wages (or wage increase freezes) threaten the capacity of the public service to discharge its crucial constitutional function. As such, the present matter is more than a simple wage dispute between employees and employer.
The written submission was prepared by Advocates Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, Michael Bishop, and Jason Brickhill.
For comment contact
Dominic Brown 0813094973
Dick Forslund 0824957947