The Constitution

South African Constitution of 1996 Republic of South Africa

The Republic of South Africa is one, sovereign, democratic state founded on the following values:

1. Human dignity, the achievement of equality and the advancement of human rights and freedoms.

2. Non-racialism and non-sexism.

3. Supremacy of the constitution and the rule of law.

4. Universal adult suffrage, a national common voters roll, regular elections and a multi-party system of democratic government, to ensure accountability, responsiveness and openness.

Supremacy of Constitution
This Constitution is the supreme law of the Republic; law or conduct inconsistent with it is invalid, and the obligations imposed by it must be fulfilled.

Citizenship

  1. There is a common South African citizenship.
  2. All citizens are:
    1. equally entitled to the rights, privileges and benefits of citizenship; and
    2. equally subject to the duties and responsibilities of citizenship.
    3. National legislation must provide for the acquisition, loss and restoration of citizenship.

National anthem
The national anthem of the Republic is determined by the President by proclamation.

National flag
The national flag of the Republic is black, gold, green, white, red and blue, as described and sketched in Schedule 1.

Languages

  1. The official languages of the Republic are Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, siSwati, Tshivenda, Xitsonga, Afrikaans, English, isiNdebele, isiXhosa and isiZulu.
  2. Recognising the historically diminished use and status of the indigenous languages of our people, the state must take practical and positive measures to elevate the status and advance the use of these languages.
  3. a. The national government and provincial governments may use any particular official languages for the purposes of government, taking into account usage, practicality, expense, regional circumstances and the balance of the needs and preferences of the population as a whole or in the province concerned; but the national government and each provincial government must use at least two official languages.
    b. Municipalities must take into account the language usage and preferences of their residents.
  4. The national government and provincial governments, by legislative and other measures, must regulate and monitor their use of official languages. Without detracting from the provisions of subsection (2), all official languages must enjoy parity of esteem and must be treated equitably.
  5. A Pan South African Language Board established by national legislation must:
    1. a. promote, and create conditions for, the development and use of:
      b.i. all official languages; ii. the Khoi, Nama and San languages; and
      iii. sign language ; and
      c. promote and ensure respect for:
      d. i. all languages commonly used by communities in South Africa, including German, Greek, Gujarati, Hindi, Portuguese, Tamil, Telegu and Urdu; and
      ii. Arabic, Hebrew, Sanskrit and other languages used for religious purposes in South Africa.

Rights

  1. This Bill of Rights is a cornerstone of democracy in South Africa. It enshrines the rights of all people in our country and affirms the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom.
  2. The state must respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights in the Bill of Rights.
  3. The rights in the Bill of Rights are subject to the limitations contained or referred to in section 36, or elsewhere in the Bill.

Application

  1. The Bill of Rights applies to all law, and binds the legislature, the executive, the judiciary and all organs of state.
  2. A provision of the Bill of Rights binds a natural or a juristic person if, and to the extent that, it is applicable, taking into account the nature of the right and the nature of any duty imposed by the right.
  3. When applying a provision of the Bill of Rights to a natural or juristic person in terms of subsection (2), a court:
    a. in order to give effect to a right in the Bill, must apply, or if necessary develop, the common law to the extent that legislation does not give effect to that right; and
    b. may develop rules of the common law to limit the right, provided that the limitation is in accordance with section 36(1).
    (3) A juristic person is entitled to the rights in the Bill of Rights to the extent required by the nature of the rights and the nature of that juristic person.

Equality

  1. Everyone is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and benefit of the law.
  2. Equality includes the full and equal enjoyment of all rights and freedoms. To promote the achievement of equality, legislative and other measures designed to protect or advance persons, or categories of persons, disadvantaged by unfair discrimination may be taken.
  3. The state may not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds, including race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language and birth.
  4. No person may unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds in terms of subsection (3). National legislation must be enacted to prevent or prohibit unfair discrimination.
  5. Discrimination on one or more of the grounds listed in subsection (3) is unfair unless it is established that the discrimination is fair.

Human dignity
Everyone has inherent dignity and the right to have their dignity respected and protected.

Life
Everyone has the right to life.

Freedom and security of the person

  1. Everyone has the right to freedom and security of the person, which includes the right:
    1. not to be deprived of freedom arbitrarily or without just cause;
    2. not to be detained without trial;
    3. to be free from all forms of violence from either public or private sources;
    4. not to be tortured in any way; and
    5. not to be treated or punished in a cruel, inhuman or degrading way.
  2. Everyone has the right to bodily and psychological integrity, which includes the right:
    1. to make decisions concerning reproduction;
    2. to security in and control over their body; and
    3. not to be subjected to medical or scientific experiments without their informed consent.

Slavery, servitude and forced labour
No one may be subjected to slavery, servitude or forced labour... read on