Legal Resources Centre

In Pursuit of Equality in South Africa


The content of this publication belongs to the Legal Resources Centre. Readers are encouraged to freely use this information with the correct acknowledgment to the authors, the Legal Resources Centre and the publication, “In Pursuit of Equality in South Africa: The Experiences of the Legal Resources Centre”.


Janet Love, National Director

Shortfalls in the Implementation of the Domestic Violence Act

South Africa has one of the highest statistics for violence against women in the world.

Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry: Police Losing the War on Rape in Khayelitsha

In South Africa, one of the major disruptions to women’s abilities to enjoy constitutional rights is the high prevalence of gender-based crime, especially in low-income areas and informal settlements.

Sexual Violence and Xenophobia: The Silent Scream

The South African Immigration Act broadly defines the word ‘foreigner’ to describe non-nationals. In this chapter, the words ‘foreigner’ and ‘migrant’ will be used interchangeably to refer to non-nationals, regardless of their immigration status.

The Treatment of Victims of Sexual Violence in South Africa’s Refugee Status Determination System

According to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), at the end of 2013 there were approximately 65,668 recognised refugees and 243,948 asylum seekers with pending cases in South Africa.

Resisting the Traditional Courts Bill

One of the most radical but lesser known innovations of the South African Constitution was the recognition of customary law as an independent system of law equal to the common law.

The Practice of Ukuthwala in Jezile v the State

Between December 2009 and January 2010, Jezile, who was 28 years old at the time, travelled to his rural home village in the Eastern Cape with the intention of finding a girl or young woman to marry according to his custom.

Confirming the Virginal Status of Children: The Impact of Non-Compliance with Section 12(3) to 6 of the Children’s Act

The Constitutional Court, as well as our Constitution, recognises customary law as a source of law.

Mayelane V Ngwenyama on the Importance of Consent and its Application to all Polygynous Marriages in South Africa

Any notion of the first wife’s equality with her husband would be completely undermined if he were able to introduce a new marriage partner to their domestic life without her consent.

Modern Traditional Marriage and Matrimonial Regimes: The Legal and Practical Implications of the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act

The Constitutional Court in the case, Gumede v President of the Republic of South Africa recognised that the introduction of the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act 120 of 1998 (RCMA) was a monumental step in addressing gendered inequality within marriage, and the marital power of the husband, by providing for equality between spouses.

Piercing the Veil: The Struggle for Recognition of Islamic Marriages in South Africa

Our pre-constitutional jurisprudence is filled with judgments pertaining to the recognition of Islamic marriages. Ironically, the assimilation of jurisprudence has continued under our Constitutional democracy.

Submission to the Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights: Unpaid Work, Poverty and Women’s Human Rights

In this article, the Legal Resources Centre (LRC) showcases its submission on unpaid care work, poverty and women’s rights to the Special Rapporteur on Poverty.

The Right to Work: Maternity Protection Under the Spotlight

This article explores some of the issues that we have raised while working collaboratively with partners on the issue of women’s right to work at a national, as well as international level.

Right to Just and Favourable Conditions of Work (Article 7 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights)

This is a submission made on the Draft General Comment on the right to just and favourable conditions of work as entrenched in Article 7 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

The Right to Work in Peace – Recognising Sex Worker Rights as Human Rights in South Africa

There are a number of laws in South Africa that criminalise various aspects of sex work.

Substantive Gender Equality, Sex Work and the Assumptions of S v Jordan

In 2002 the Constitutional Court was asked to pronounce on the constitutionality of legislation that criminalised sex work 1 and its associated crimes.

Right to Identity: The Implementation of the Alteration of Sex Description Act

The right to identification documents that correctly reflect one’s personal details is often not thought to be a concern.

Homosexuality as a Grounds for Asylum: The Deplorable Experiences of Lesbian, Gay and Transgender Refugees Seeking Asylum in South Africa

South Africa is one of only 19 countries in Africa that does not criminalise homosexuality and any associated behaviour and activities. For this reason, South Africa receives a significant number of asylum seekers who have fled their country of origin because of persecution suffered as a result of their sexual orientation.

Determining Medical Necessity: The Right to Accessible Medical Healthcare for Transgender Persons in South African Law

BUSISIWE DEYI   INTRODUCTION With the recognition of same-sex marriages and the liberalisation of adoption, pension benefits and morality laws, which had previously threatened same-sex couples engaged in consensual sexual acts with criminalisation, the struggles of other minority groups also require constitutional-changing attention. The strategic legal reform essentialism that characterised the legal reform movement of… View Article

Access to Toilets: A Right Denied

CHARLENE MAY, BIANCA VALENTINE AND GENDERDYNAMIX   INTRODUCTION Gender equality is one of the basic rights guaranteed under the Constitution of South Africa. The enjoyment of the right to equality is further enforced through legislation, policy and codes of good conduct through which the State seeks to eliminate unfair discrimination. Section 9(2) of the Constitution… View Article

The Right of Persons with Disabilities to Social Protection

MANDIVAVARIRA MUDARIKWA, ASSISTED BY MARINA BERNABEU   INTRODUCTION This article is a submission made by the Legal Resources Centre (LRC) to the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to provide input on a questionnaire developed to ascertain the status of the right of persons with disabilities to social protection. This information was required… View Article

The Right to Education for All: Disabled Children in South Africa’s School System

SHONA GAZIDIS   INTRODUCTION The right to education for everyone, including people with disabilities, is protected by Section 29 of the South African Constitution. The Constitution also states that no-one may be unfairly discriminated against on the grounds of their disability. The Schools Act 1996 states that schools must admit children without ‘discriminating in any… View Article

South Africa’s Obligation Towards Protecting Unaccompanied and Separated Foreign Children

ELGENE ROOS INTRODUCTION ‘Usually more than half of any refugee population are children. Refugee children are children first and foremost, and as children, they need special attention.’ Refugee children are part of the most vulnerable group of people in the world and prone to suffer more prejudice than any other. ‘In the aftermath of emergencies… View Article

Evaluating the Extent to which the Civil Aviation Regulations Accommodate Persons with Mental Disabilities

MANDIVAVARIRA MUDARIKWA   INTRODUCTION The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) explains the concept of reasonable accommodation and unequivocally links it to the realisation of all human rights of persons with disabilities. The CRPD is the first binding international law treaty where reasonable accommodation has been defined. The CRPD frames… View Article