Racism and law : implementing the right to equality in selected South African equality courts

Krüger, R. (2009) Racism and law : implementing the right to equality in selected South African equality courts. PhD thesis, Rhodes University.




Racism has informed South African society since colonial times. Racist beliefs found expression in the laws of colonial and apartheid South Africa and shaped both state and society. The constitutional state that South Africa has become since 1994, is based on the values of ‘human dignity’, ‘the achievement of equality’ and ‘nonracialism’, among others. Law formed the basis of the racist state prior to 1994, and now law has a fundamental role to play in the transformation of the state and society in an egalitarian direction by addressing socio-economic inequalities on the one hand, and by changing patterns of behaviour based on racist beliefs forged in the past, on the other. This thesis examines one of the legal instruments that is intended to contribute to transformation in the latter sense, namely the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act 4 of 2000 (the Equality Act), with specific reference to the issue of racism. The provisions of this Act and the framework for its operation against the background of South Africa’s racist past, and within the broader framework of international and constitutional law, are examined. These two legal frameworks are analysed for the purpose of determining the standards set by international and constitutional law regarding racial equality in order to determine whether the Equality Act measures up. This thesis also incorporates an analysis of the practical application of the provisions of the Equality Act to complaints of racism in selected equality courts. The theoretical analysis of the Act’s provisions and their application in the equality courts point to various problematic formulations and obstacles which negatively affect the application of the provisions and thus hamper social change. The thesis concludes with recommendations for refining the Act’s provisions and its application.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:PhD. (Law)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Racism in South Africa, hate speech, equality, unfair discrimination, promotion of equality, Unfair Discrimination Act
Subjects:K Law > KT Asia and Eurasia, Africa, Pacific Aria, and Antarctica > Africa > South Africa, Republic of
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Law
Supervisors:Midgley, J. R. (Prof)
ID Code:1429
Deposited By: Nicolene Mvinjelwa
Deposited On:28 Jul 2009
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:20
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