- Madzodzo was brought by the LRC on behalf of the Centre for Child Law and several schools in the Eastern Cape seeking to remedy the province’s chronic shortage of school desks and chairs. The court declared that the government’s failure to address protracted delays in providing the desperately needed classroom furniture was a violation of the constitution’s protection of the right to a basic education. However, various rounds of litigation had failed to produce the desired results.
- The LRC saw potential to pilot the use of the CESR’s OPERA framework as a tool to support the litigation. OPERA’s key innovation is the use of multiple methods for collecting, analyzing, and presenting evidence to assess compliance with economic, social, and cultural rights standards.
- A rigorous analysis of the documents submitted in the case revealed a number of alarming facts. Estimates indicated that up to 40 percent of all schools in the Eastern Cape were in need of classroom furniture. There were serious questions about how budgetary allocations had been spent, as procurement and delivery processes were irregular and lengthy delays and poor information management were the norm.
- A strategy was devised that focused primarily on obtaining stronger data to demonstrate to the courts—and to the authorities—the extent of the problems. This helped provide a fuller picture of the political and structural limitations affecting the department’s work.
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