n African Journal of Rhetoric - Mass action and the law - can South Africa do without the Regulation of the Gatherings Act?

Volume 1, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1998-2054


The war between repression and freedom, according to the FXI is not new. In our liberal constitution the right peacefully and unarmed, to assemble, to demonstrate, to picket and to present petitions is guaranteed, however, this is not being implemented since it is severely restricted. The Act accords police unfettered powers to prohibit a protest without reason with little or no understanding of the content of the Act. The paper looks at the South African cases dealing with the constitutional right to protest and whether these are in line with the Act and consequently investigating whether the Act can pass constitutional muster. The human rights implication of the cumulative effect of the violation of right will be discussed as well as relevant background. I will argue that the Act serves as the instrument of the state to violate the right of the public to protest. Thereafter the paper will define and analyse the crime of institutionalised public violence and how it was used and still being used to stifle public dissent.

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