“The SAHRC has informed the SCA that jointly with other Chapter nine institutions, under the aegis of the Forum for Institutions Supporting Democracy (FISD), is advocating to have its budget presented directly to Parliament rather than through the Department of Justice and Constitutional Affairs. The SCA notes information that the SAHRC has met the leadership of Parliament who have undertaken to support this approach.

The SCA encourages the SAHRC continue its advocacy in this regard in order to safeguard its independence. The SCA also takes note of the concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD/C/ZAF/CO/9-11) of 2023, in which the Committee raises concern about the insufficient financial resources allocated to the SAHRC and the decision to reduce the budget allocated to the SAHRC, thereby jeopardizing its ability to fulfil its mandate in an effective manner.

The SCA underscores that to function effectively, an NHRI must be provided with adequate funding to guarantee its independence and its ability to freely determine its priorities and activities. Provision of adequate funding by the State should, as a minimum, include the following: a) the allocation of funds for premises which are accessible to the wider community, including for persons with disabilities. In certain circumstances, to promote independence and accessibility, this may require that offices are not co-located with other government agencies. Where possible, accessibility should be further enhanced by establishing a permanent regional presence; b) the establishment of well-functioning communications systems including telephone and internet; and c) the allocation of a sufficient amount of resources for mandated activities.

Where the NHRI has been designated with additional responsibilities by the State, additional financial resources should be provided to enable it to assume the responsibilities of discharging these functions.

The SCA therefore recommends that the SAHRC continue to advocate for adequate funding including funding to expand its presence across the country. The SCA refers to Paris Principle B.2 and to its General Observation 1.10 ‘Adequate funding of National Human Rights Institutions.’”