South African Bill of Rights

Rights. 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.

The state must respect, protect, promote and fulfill in the  Bill of Rights.

The rights in the Bill of Rights are subject to the limitations contained or referred to in section 36, or elsewhere in the

Application. The Bill of Rights applies to all law, and binds the legislature, the executive, the judiciary and all organs of state.

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.

When applying a provision of the Bill of Rights to a natural or juristic person in terms of subsection (2), a court — 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 may develop rules of the common law to limit the right,
provided that the limitation is in accordance with section 36(1)

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. Everyone is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and benefit of the law.

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.

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.

No person may unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds in terms of subsection. National legislation must be enacted to prevent or prohibit unfair discrimination.

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.


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

Slavery, servitude and forced labor. No one may be subjected to slavery, servitude or forced labor.

Privacy. Everyone has the right to privacy, which includes the right not to have-

  1. their person or home searched;
  2. their property searched;
  3. their possessions seized; or the privacy of their communications infringed.

Freedom of religion, belief and opinion. Everyone has the right to freedom of conscience, religion, thought, belief and opinion.

Religious observances may be conducted at state or state-aided institutions, provided that those observances follow rules made by the appropriate public authorities, they are conducted on an equitable basis; and attendance at them is free and voluntary.

This section does not prevent legislation recognizing- marriages concluded under any tradition, or a system of religious, personal or family law; or systems of personal and family law under any tradition, or adhered to by persons professing a particular religion.

Freedom of expression. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, which includes— freedom of the press and other media; freedom to receive or impart information or idea's freedom of artistic creativity; and academic freedom and freedom of scientific research. The right in subsection (1) does not extend to propaganda for war; incitement of imminent violence; or advocacy of hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion, and that constitutes incitement to cause harm.

Assembly, demonstration, picket and petition. Everyone has the right, peacefully and unarmed, to assemble, to demonstrate, to picket and to present petitions; Freedom of association. Everyone has the right to freedom of association.

Political rights. Every citizen is free to make political choices, which includes the right to form a political party; to participate in the activities of, or recruit members for, a political party, and to campaign for a political party or cause. Every citizen has the right to free, fair and regular elections for any legislative body established in terms of the Constitution. Every adult citizen has the right to vote in elections for any legislative body established in terms of the Constitution, and to do so in secret; and to stand for public office and, if elected, to hold office.

Citizenship. No citizen may be deprived of citizenship. Freedom of movement and residence. Everyone has the right to freedom of movement. Everyone has the right to leave the Republic. Every citizen has the right to enter, to remain in and to reside anywhere in, the Republic. Every citizen has the right to a passport.

Freedom of trade, occupation and profession. Every citizen has the right to choose their trade occupation or profession freely. The practice of a trade, occupation or profession may be regulated by law.

Labor relations. Everyone has the right to fair labor practices. Every worker has the right to form and join a trade union; to participate in the activities and programs of a trade union; and to strike. Every employer has the right to form and join an employers’ organization; and to participate in the activities and programs of an employers organization. Every trade union and every employers’ organization has the right to determine its own administration, programs and activities; to organize; and to form and join a federation. Every trade union, employers’ organization and employer has the right to engage in collective bargaining. National legislation may be enacted to regulate collective bargaining. To the extent that the legislation may limit a right in this Chapter the limitation must comply with section 36(1). National legislation may recognize union security arrangements contained in collective agreements. To the extent that the legislation may limit a right in this Chapter, the limitation must comply with section 36(1).

Environment. Everyone has the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being; and to have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that prevent pollution and ecological degradation. promote conservation, and secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development.

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