n Law, Democracy & Development - Irreconcilable differences? Building a human rights culture and dealing with crime in post apartheid South Africa

Volume 4, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1028-1053
  • E-ISSN: 2077-4907



The debate about crime and human rights must be set firmly within the broader context of rights protection and delivery in South Africa. Having emerged from a past characterised by violations rather than respect for fundamental rights, the adoption of the "interim" 1993 Constitution and the "final" 1996 Constitution for the first time provided a justifiable Bill of Rights to protect all its inhabitants. The inclusion of protections relating to, amongst others, equality, dignity, the treatment of children and incarcerated persons reflected the new order's commitment to avoid repeating the mistakes of the previous political order. Significantly, the inclusion of socio-economic rights guaranteed access to rights such as education and emergency medical treatment, and the progressive realisation of other rights such as access to housing, water and environmental protections. In addition, the state is given specific responsibility to respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights in the Bill of Rights and is therefore the guardian and guarantor of those rights.

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