The coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on groups that have historically been subjected to systemic and structural discrimination based on specific identity characteristics such as race, gender and disability status. This is compounded in those cases where a person faces discrimination based on an intersection of multiple identity characteristics. Absent positive redistributive measures to help alleviate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on vulnerable groups, existing patterns of inequality and poverty will be exacerbated. In this chapter, Botswana, Kenya and South Africa are used as case studies to advance the argument that when designing and implementing laws and policies addressing the adverse socio-economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the right to equality in each of these jurisdictions imposes a duty on the state to take an equality- sensitive approach. The equality-sensitive approach requires the state, when realising socio-economic rights, to target, prioritise and take positive redistributive measures in favour of vulnerable groups. Vulnerable groups are groups that are subject to systemic and structural socio-economic disadvantage because of historical, social, economic and political arrangements of power. Through a normative and doctrinal analysis of the relationship between the right to equality and socio-economic rights, the Chapter argues that, in all three jurisdictions, there is a positive duty to take an equality-sensitive approach. The chapter will show that while some Covid-19 pandemic relief in these jurisdictions has taken equality into account, this has been on an ad hoc basis and not at all in some cases, which is contrary to the states’ duty to take an equality-sensitive approach.
|Title of host publication
|COVID-19 pandemic and socio-economic rights in selected East and Southern African countries
|Place of Publication
|Published - 30 Nov 2020