Bill of Rights (Chapter 2 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa)
The Bill of Rights sets out the fundamental rights of all South Africans, including the right to dignity and the right to equality. The Bill of Rights also states when rights may be limited.
Section 7(1) of the Bill of Rights states: “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.”
Section 8(1)of the Bill of Rights states: “The Bill of Rights applies to all law, and binds the legislature, the executive, the judiciary and all organs of state.”
Some of the rights contained in the Constitution include:
Everyone is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and benefit of the law.
Everyone has inherent dignity and the right to have their dignity respected and protected.
Everyone has the right to life.
Everyone has the right to freedom and security of the person.
Everyone has the right to bodily and psychological integrity.
No one may be subjected to slavery, servitude or forced labour.
Everyone has the right to privacy.
Everyone has the right to freedom of conscience, religion, thought, belief and opinion.
Everyone has the right to freedom of expression.
Everyone has the right, peacefully and unarmed, to assemble, to demonstrate, to picket and to present petitions.
Everyone has the right to freedom of association.
Every citizen is free to make political choices.
Every citizen has the right to free, fair and regular elections for any legislative body established in terms of the Constitution.
No citizen may be deprived of citizenship.
Everyone has the right to freedom of movement.
Every citizen has the right to choose their trade, occupation or profession freely.
Everyone has the right to fair labour practices.
Everyone has the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being
No one may be deprived of property except in terms of law of general application, and no law may permit arbitrary deprivation of property.
Everyone has the right to have access to adequate housing.
Everyone has the right to have access to health care services, including reproductive health care;
sufficient food and water; and social security, including, if they are unable to support themselves and their dependants, appropriate social assistance.
No one may be refused emergency medical treatment.
Every child has the right to a name and a nationality from birth;
to family care or parental care, or to appropriate alternative care when removed from the family environment;
to basic nutrition, shelter, basic health care services and social services;
to be protected from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation;
to be protected from exploitative labour practices;
A child’s best interests are of paramount importance in every matter concerning the child.
Everyone has the right to a basic education.
Everyone has the right to use the language and to participate in the cultural life of their choice.
Persons belonging to a cultural, religious or linguistic community may not be denied the right, with other members of that community to enjoy their culture, practise their religion and use their language; and
to form, join and maintain cultural, religious and linguistic associations and other organs of civil society.
Everyone has the right of access to any information held by the state; and
any information that is held by another person and that is required for the exercise or protection of any rights.
Everyone has the right to have any dispute that can be resolved by the application of law decided in a fair public hearing before a court or, where appropriate, another independent and impartial tribunal or forum.
Every accused person has a right to a fair trial.