1887

n Journal for Juridical Science - Equality or justice? Section 9 of the Constitution revisited - Part II

Volume 27, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0258-252X
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Abstract

The purpose of this article is to establish whether section 9 of the Constitution guarantees equality or justice. The Constitution stipulates that everyone is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and benefit of the law. It defines equality as including the full and equal enjoyment of all the rights and freedoms. It also prohibits unfair discrimination against anyone on one or more of the listed grounds. This provision aims to create an egalitarian society where all people are treated as human beings with dignity and self-worth. It cannot, however, be interpreted to mean that there will be total equality of all persons in every respect whatever their circumstances and that all people will enjoy all rights fully in the same way. The Constitutional Court has interpreted this provision to mean justice and fairness rather than complete equality. It has been accepted that in a democratic society differentiation is permissible and even necessary. However, permissible differentiation becomes impermissible (and consequently results in unfair discrimination) when the dignity of the person is violated. Although this approach has been criticised as being narrow in that it shifts emphasis from equality to dignity, it demonstrates that there is a close relationship between equality and dignity.

<b>Gelykheid of geregtigheid? Artikel 9 van die Grondwet : 'n heroorweging - Deel II</b> <br>Die doel van hierdie artikel is om artikel 9 van die Grondwet onder die loep te neem en vas te stel of die Grondwet gelykheid en regverdigheid waarborg. Die Grondwet bepaal dat almal gelyk is voor die reg en dus aanspraak kan maak op die gelyke beskerming en voordele wat die reg bied. Dit omskryf gelykheid as 'n begrip wat die volle en gelyke benutting van alle regte en vryhede insluit. Die Grondwet verbied ook onregverdige diskriminasie teenoor alle persone op een of meer van die gelyste gronde. Hierdie voorsiening beoog om 'n egalistiese samelewing, waarin almal menswaardig behandel word as menslike wesens met waardigheid en eiewaarde, daar te stel. Dit kan egter nie noodwendig vertolk word as bedoelende dat daar in alle opsigte algehele gelykheid tussen alle mense, wat ookal hul omstandighede, sal bestaan nie - of dat alle mense noodwendig in alle opsigte dieselfde regte ten volle sal geniet nie. Die Grondwetlike Hof vertolk hierdie bepaling as geregtigheid en regverdigheid eerder as volle gelykwaardigheid. Daar word aanvaar dat differensiasie in 'n demokratiese samelewing toelaatbaar en selfs nodig is, maar toelaatbare differensiasie word omskep in ontoelaatbare (en gevolglik onregverdige diskriminasie) wanneer 'n persoon se waardigheid geskend word. Alhoewel daar kritiek bestaan dat so 'n benadering as eng beskou kan word deurdat dit 'n klemverskuiwing vanaf gelykheid na waardigheid bewerkstellig, demonstreer dit tog dat daar 'n noue verband tussen gelykheid en waardigheid bestaan.

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/content/juridic/27/2/EJC55490
2002-12-01
2016-12-09

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