n South African Journal of Criminal Justice - The restorative justice bug bites the South African criminal justice system

Volume 17, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1011-8527
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2118



The last quarter of the twentieth century has witnessed an increased participation of non-state agencies in the administration of justice. Among others, there has been a proliferation of initiatives theoretically anchored on restorative justice paradigm. While this is an international phenomenon, this article focuses on South Africa and points out that there seems to be interest on the part of both the state and civil society to apply restorative justice. After dealing with the theory that underlies restorative justice, focus is turned to the problematic relationship between restorative justice and the conventional criminal justice theory and practice. It is warned that while the interest shown by the state in restorative justice is laudable, the process should be as inclusive of the South African population as possible. This is particularly crucial given the low level of access to justice on the part of many black South Africans and the resounding resonance between restorative justice and justice as practiced by Africans through community courts and chiefs' courts.

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