oa Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - Freedom of association in the United States and South Africa - a comparative analysis

Volume 26, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



Freedom of religious association should imply that the state maintains neutrality towards the different religious groups without restricting religious activities or views. The way in which religious neutrality is applied in the United States entails that the state promotes anti-religious views to the detriment of religious views (e.g. in education). This should not be followed in South Africa. The procedure to ban political associations in terms of the Internal Security Act 74 of 1982 (as amended) does not take freedom of political association into account and it will be impossible to reconcile these measures with the proposed bill of rights. American law offers an excellent application of the principle that subversive, violent behaviour should be restricted rather than banning a political organisation because of unpopular or opposing views. The best way to maintain a balance between individual freedom and the interests of the community or state, is by establishing a constitutional court in terms of a generally-accepted, trustworthy bill of rights.

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