South Africa
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Features of Constitution1

Is there a constitution? Yes
Does the constitution provide for freedom of religion? Yes

Constitution2

Constitution Year 1996
Last Amended 2009
Source South African Government Information
Translation Original was written in English
Current as of May 11, 2011

Constitution Excerpts (clauses that reference religion)2

Preamble

... May God protect our people.
� God bless South Africa.


6. Languages

� 5) A Pan South African Language Board established by national legislation must -
�(b) promote and ensure respect for
i. all languages commonly used by communities in South Africa, including German, Greek, Gujarati, Hindi, Portuguese, Tamil, Telegu and Urdu; and
ii. Arabic, Hebrew, Sanskrit and other languages used for religious purposes in South Africa.


9. Equality

1. Everyone is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and benefit of the law.
2. Equality includes the full and equal enjoyment of all rights and freedoms. To promote the achievement of equality, legislative and other measures designed to protect or advance persons, or categories of persons, disadvantaged by unfair discrimination may be taken.
3. The state may not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds, including race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, color, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language and birth.
4. No person may unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds in terms of subsection (3). National legislation must be enacted to prevent or prohibit unfair discrimination.
5. Discrimination on one or more of the grounds listed in subsection (3) is unfair unless it is established that the discrimination is fair.


15. Freedom of religion, belief and opinion

1. Everyone has the right to freedom of conscience, religion, thought, belief and opinion.
2. Religious observances may be conducted at state or state-aided institutions, provided that
a. those observances follow rules made by the appropriate public authorities;
b. they are conducted on an equitable basis; and
c. attendance at them is free and voluntary.
3.
a. This section does not prevent legislation recognizing
i. marriages concluded under any tradition, or a system of religious, personal or family law; or
ii. systems of personal and family law under any tradition, or adhered to by persons professing a particular religion.
b. Recognition in terms of paragraph (a) must be consistent with this section and the other provisions of the Constitution.


16. Freedom of expression

1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, which includes
a. freedom of the press and other media;
b. freedom to receive or impart information or ideas;
c. freedom of artistic creativity; and
d. academic freedom and freedom of scientific research.
2. The right in subsection (1) does not extend to
a. propaganda for war;
b. incitement of imminent violence; or
c. advocacy of hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion, and that constitutes incitement to cause harm.


28. Children

1. Every child has the right
�f. not to be required or permitted to perform work or provide services that
i. are inappropriate for a person of that child�s age; or
ii. place at risk the child�s well-being, education, physical or mental health or spiritual, moral or social development;


31. Cultural, religious and linguistic communities

1. Persons belonging to a cultural, religious or linguistic community may not be denied the right, with other members of that community
a. to enjoy their culture, practice their religion and use their language; and
b. to form, join and maintain cultural, religious and linguistic associations and other organs of civil society.
2. The rights in subsection (1) may not be exercised in a manner inconsistent with any provision of the Bill of Rights.


35. Arrested, detained and accused persons

�2. Everyone who is detained, including every sentenced prisoner, has the right
�f) to communicate with, and be visited by, that person�s
i. spouse or partner;
ii. next of kin;
iii) chosen religious counselor; and
iv. chosen medical practitioner.


37. States of emergency

�5. No Act of Parliament that authorizes a declaration of a state of emergency, and no legislation enacted or other action taken in consequence of a declaration, may permit or authorize
a. indemnifying the state, or any person, in respect of any unlawful act;
b. any derogation from this section; or
c. any derogation from a section mentioned in column 1 of the Table of Non-Derogable Rights, to the extent indicated opposite that section in column 3 of the Table.

Table of Non-Derogable Rights

1
Section Number
2
Section Title
3
Extent to which the right is protected
9 Equality With respect to unfair discrimination solely on the grounds of
race, color, ethnic or social origin, sex, religion or language
10 Human Dignity Entirely
11 Life Entirely
12 Freedom and Security
of the person
With respect to subsections (1)(d) and (e) and (2)(c).
13 Slavery, servitude and
forced labor
With respect to slavery and servitude
28 Children With respect to:
- subsection (1)(d) and (e);
- the rights in subparagraphs (i) and (ii) of subsection (1)(g); and
- subsection 1(i) in respect of children of 15 years and
younger
35 Arrested, detained and
accused persons
With respect to:
- subsections (1)(a), (b) and (c) and (2)(d);
- the rights in paragraphs (a) to (o) of subsection (3),
excluding paragraph (d)
- subsection (4); and
- subsection (5) with respect to the exclusion of evidence if
the admission of that evidence would render the trial unfair.


181. Establishment and governing principles

1. The following state institutions strengthen constitutional democracy in the Republic:
a. The Public Protector.
b. The Human Rights Commission.
c. The Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities.
d. The Commission for Gender equality.
e. The Auditor-General.
f. The Electoral Commission.


Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities

185. Functions of Commission

1. The primary objects of the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities are
a. to promote respect for the rights of cultural, religious and linguistic communities;
b. to promote and develop peace, friendship, humanity, tolerance and national unity among cultural, religious and linguistic communities, on the basis of equality, non-discrimination and free association; and
c. to recommend the establishment or recognition, in accordance with national legislation, of a cultural or other council or councils for a community or communities in South Africa.
2. The Commission has the power, as regulated by national legislation, necessary to achieve its primary objects, including the power to monitor, investigate, research, educate, lobby, advise and report on issues concerning the rights of cultural, religious and linguistic communities.
3. The Commission may report any matter which falls within its powers and functions to the Human Rights Commission for investigation.
4. The Commission has the additional powers and functions prescribed by national legislation.


186. Composition of Commission

1. The number of members of the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities and their appointment and terms of office must be prescribed by national legislation.
2. The composition of the Commission must-
a. be broadly representative of the main cultural, religious and linguistic communities in South Africa; and
b. broadly reflect the gender composition of South Africa.


Schedule 2 - Oaths and Solemn Affirmations

1. Oath or solemn affirmation of President and Acting President

The President or Acting President, before the Chief Justice, or another judge designated by the Chief Justice, must swear/affirm as follows:
In the presence of everyone assembled here, and in full realization of the high calling I assume as President/Acting President of the Republic of South Africa, I, A.B., swear/solemnly affirm that I will be faithful to the Republic of South Africa, and will obey, observe, uphold and maintain the Constitution and all other law of the Republic; and I solemnly and sincerely promise that I will always
- promote all that will advance the Republic, and oppose all that may harm it;
- protect and promote the rights of all South Africans;
- discharge my duties with all my strength and talents to the best of my knowledge and ability and true to the dictates of my conscience;
- do justice to all; and
- devote myself to the well-being of the Republic and all of its people.
(In the case of an oath: So help me God.)


2. Oath or solemn affirmation of Deputy President

The Deputy President, before the Chief Justice or another judge designated by the Chief Justice, must swear/affirm as follows:
In the presence of everyone assembled here, and in full realization of the high calling I assume as Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa, I, A.B., swear/solemnly affirm that I will be faithful to the Republic of South Africa and will obey, observe, uphold and maintain the Constitution and all other law of the Republic; and I solemnly and sincerely promise that I will always
- promote all that will advance the Republic, and oppose all that may harm it;
- be a true and faithful counselor;
- discharge my duties with all my strength and talents to the best of my knowledge and ability and true to the dictates of my conscience;
- do justice to all; and
- devote myself to the well-being of the Republic and all of its people.
(In the case of an oath: So help me God.)


3. Oath or solemn affirmation of Ministers and Deputy Ministers

Each Minister and Deputy Minister, before the Chief Justice or another judge designated by the Chief Justice, must swear/affirm as follows:
I, A.B., swear/solemnly affirm that I will be faithful to the Republic of South Africa and will obey, respect and uphold the Constitution and all other law of the Republic; and I undertake to hold my office as Minister/Deputy Minister with honor and dignity; to be a true and faithful counselor; not to divulge directly or indirectly any secret matter entrusted to me; and to perform the functions of my office conscientiously and to the best of my ability.
(In the case of an oath: So help me God.)


4. Oath or solemn affirmation of members of the National Assembly, permanent delegates to the National Council of Provinces and members of the provincial legislatures

1. Members of the National Assembly, permanent delegates to the National Council of Provinces and members of provincial legislatures, before the before the Chief Justice or another judge designated by the Chief Justice, must swear or affirm as follows:
I, A.B., swear/solemnly affirm that I will be faithful to the Republic of South Africa and will obey, respect and uphold the Constitution and all other law of the Republic, and I solemnly promise to perform my functions as a member of the National Assembly/ permanent delegate to the National Council of Provinces/member of the legislature of the province of C.D. to the best of my ability.
(In the case of an oath: So help me God.)
2. Persons filling a vacancy in the National Assembly, a permanent delegation to the National Council of Provinces or a provincial legislature may swear or affirm in terms of subitem (1) before the presiding officer of the Assembly, Council or legislature, as the case may be.


5. Oath or solemn affirmation of Premiers, Acting Premiers and members of provincial Executive Councils

The Premier or Acting Premier of a province, and each member of the Executive Council of a province, before the Chief Justice or another judge designated by the Chief Justice, must swear/affirm as follows:
I, A.B., swear/solemnly affirm that I will be faithful to the Republic of South Africa and will obey, respect and uphold the Constitution and all other law of the Republic; and I undertake to hold my office as Premier/Acting Premier/member of the Executive Council of the province of C.D. with honor and dignity; to be a true and faithful counselor; not to divulge directly or indirectly any secret matter entrusted to me; and to perform the functions of my office conscientiously and to the best of my ability."
(In the case of an oath: So help me God.)


6. Oath or solemn affirmation of Judicial Officers

1. Each judge or acting judge, before the Chief Justice or another judge designated by the Chief Justice, must swear or affirm as follows:
I, A.B., swear/solemnly affirm that, as a Judge of the Constitutional Court/Supreme Court of Appeal/High Court/E.F. Court, I will be faithful to the Republic of South Africa, will uphold and protect the Constitution and the human rights entrenched in it, and will administer justice to all persons alike without fear, favor or prejudice, in accordance with the Constitution and the law.
(In the case of an oath: So help me God.)
2. A person appointed to the office of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Appeal who is not already a judge at the time of that appointment must swear or affirm before the Deputy Chief Justice, or failing that judge, the next most senior available judge of the Constitutional Court.
3. Judicial officers, and acting judicial officers, other than judges, must swear/affirm in terms of national legislation.

Sources

1.  Data under the "Features of Constitution" heading are drawn from coding of the U.S. State Department's 2008 International Religious Freedom Reports conducted by researchers at the Association of Religion Data Archives. The article by Brian Grim and Roger Finke describes the coding of the International Religious Freedom reports. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. Used with permission.

2.  The constitutional excerpts shown above are reproduced from the websites given in the "Source" field; the links to these websites were active as of May 2011. Where the constitutional text shown on these websites was provided in a language other than English, this text was translated to English by ARDA staff with assistance from web-based translation utilities such as Google Translate and Yahoo! Babel Fish. Constitutional text was converted to American English where applicable. Constitutional clauses were judged to contain religious content based largely on the standards used in the construction of the Religion and State Constitutions Dataset collected by Jonathan Fox. Emphases were added to the text by ARDA staff to highlight religious content in articles that also contain content that does not pertain to matters of religion. The data on this page were correct to the best of the knowledge of the ARDA as of the date listed in the "Current as of" field shown above. Please contact us at arda@pop.psu.edu if you are aware of any incorrect information provided on this page.