The Bill of Rights is the cornerstone of South
Africa’s democracy. It enshrines the rights of all
people in South Africa and affirms the democratic
values of human dignity, equality and freedom.
While every person is entitled to these rights,
they also have a responsibility to respect these
The Bill of Rights binds the legislature, the
executive, judiciary and all organs of state.
The rights contained in the Bill of Rights are
subject to the limitations contained in or referred
to in Section 36 of the Constitution, or elsewhere
in the Bill of Rights.
They apply to all laws, administrative decisions
taken and acts performed during the period in
which the Constitution is in force. In terms of the
Constitution, every person has basic human rights
- equality before the law and equal protection and benefit of the law
- freedom from unfair discrimination
- the right to life
- the right to human dignity
- the right to freedom and security of the person.
Since 1994, and in keeping with the promotion of
a human-rights culture, the focus is progressively
shifting from an adversarial and retributive criminal justice system to
that of a restorative justice system.
The Service Charter for Victims of Crime seeks to consolidate the
present legal framework in South Africa relating
to the rights of and services provided to victims of
crime, and to eliminate secondary victimisation in
the criminal justice process.
The ultimate goal is victim empowerment by
meeting victims’ material or emotional needs.
Source: South Africa Yearbook 2011/12
Editor: D Burger. Government Communication and Information System
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