Download PDF Version
Last updated 8 May 2013
The South African legal system reflects a combination of legal traditions. The civil legal tradition is rooted in the Dutch colonial period whilst the common law tradition emanates from the English colonial period. In addition, indigenous law remains a central part of the South African legal system. The South African constitutional dispensation has, since 1994, further resulted in the development of common law in line with the Constitution and the invalidation of statutory laws which are found to be inconsistent with the Constitution.
The legal framework does not present significant obstacles for civil society organizations (CSOs) operating in South Africa. Indeed, South Africa’s legislation is generally enabling and supportive of CSO activity. In 1997 the Nonprofit Organisations Act (NPO Act) was promulgated. The NPO Act repealed the Fundraising Act of 1978 which was used by the apartheid government to suppress the fundraising activities of some organisations. The NPO Act describes the State’s responsibility to nonprofit organisations as follows: “Within the limits prescribed by law, every organ of state must determine and coordinate the implementation of its policies and measures in a manner designed to promote, support and enhance the capacity of NPOs to perform their functions.” Despite this noble commitment, the challenge comes with the effective implementation of laws. The institutions responsible for the implementation of the relevant legislation are generally under-resourced. For some institutions it would be beneficial to review their effectiveness since coming into operation – or since South Africa became a democratic country.
|Organizational Forms ||Non-Profit Trusts||Non-Profit Companies|
|Registration Body||Master of the High Court||Companies Commission|
|Approximate Number||1526 ||1667|
|Barriers to Entry||No legal barriers||No legal barriers|
|Barriers to Activities||No legal barriers||No legal barriers|
|Barriers to Speech and/or Advocacy||No legal barriers||No legal barriers|
|Barriers to International Contact||No legal barriers||No legal barriers|
|Barriers to Resources||No legal barriers||No legal barriers|
 This chart does not include voluntary associations, which are in fact the most common form of civil society organization, as they are a creation of common law, and not dependent upon authorization by a public office. There are no legal barriers limiting their establishment or operational activity.
 The numbers listed reflect only those non-profit trusts and non-profit companies registered in terms of the Nonprofit Organisations Act. They numbers are current as of March 2009, and are based on The State of NPO registration in South Africa, “A Report from the National NPO Database”, published by the Department of Social Development, p. 10. According to the most recent report, “By the end of March 2012, the total number of registered organisations was 85,248. These increases translated into an average growth rate of almost 14% annually.” (The State of South African Registered Nonprofit Organisations issued in terms of the Nonprofit Organisations Act 71 of 1997 – June 2012 - A Report from the National NPO Database – Page 6). During December 2012, the website of the Directorate for Nonprofit Organisations reflected only a number of 48,928 registered nonprofit organisations. On January 15, 2013 the number of registered NPOs was at 29,079. This means that more than 55,000organisations that were registered during March 2012 have been de-registered by January 2013, presumably for reasons of non-compliance.
|Population||51,770,560 (Census 2011)|
|Capital||Pretoria (executive), Cape Town (legislative)|
|Type of Government||Republic|
|Life Expectancy at Birth||Male: 48.7
Female: 51.3 (Census 2011)
|Literacy Rate||Male: 87%
|Religious Groups||Zion Christian: 11.1%; Pentecostal/Charismatic: 8.2%; Catholic: 7.1%; Methodist: 6.8%; Dutch Reformed: 6.7%; Anglican: 3.8%; Muslim: 1.5%; other Christian: 36%; other: 2.3%; unspecified: 1.4%; none: 15.1% (2001 census)|
|Ethnic Groups||Black African: 79%; white: 9.6%; colored: 8.9%; Indian/Asian: 2.5% (2001 census)|
|GDP per capita||$11,000 (2011 est.)|
Source: The World Factbook. Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency, 2009.
|Ranking Body||Rank||Ranking Scale
(best – worst possible)
|UN Human Development Index||123||1 – 187|
|World Bank Rule of Law Index||56.0%||100 – 0|
|World Bank Voice & Accountability Index||67.8%||100 – 0|
|Transparency International||64||1 – 180|
|Freedom House: Freedom in the World||Status: Free
Political Rights Score: 2
Civil Liberties Score: 2
|Free/Partly Free/Not Free
1 – 7
1 – 7
|Foreign Policy: Failed States Index
||Rank: 122||177 – 1|
International and Regional Human Rights Agreements
|Key International Agreements||Ratification*||Year|
|International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)||Yes||1998|
|Optional Protocol to ICCPR (ICCPR-OP1)||Yes||2002|
|International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)||Yes**||2012|
|Optional Protocol to ICESCR (Op-ICESCR)||No||--|
|International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD)||Yes||1998|
|Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)||Yes||1995|
|Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women||Yes||2005|
|Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)||Yes||1995|
|International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (ICRMW)||No||--|
|Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)||Yes||2007|
|African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights||Yes||1996|
|African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child||Yes||2000|
|Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community||Yes||2001|
|Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa||Yes||2004|
|Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights||Yes||2002|
* Category includes ratification, accession, or succession to the treaty
**SA Cabinet approved ratification of ICESCR in October 2012. Must still be tabled in Parliament.
The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Act 108 of 1996 (as amended), is the supreme law of South Africa. The current Constitution was adopted by the Constitutional Assembly on 11 October 1996 and came into effect on 4 February 1997.
Relevant constitutional provisions include:
Clause 16 – Freedom of Expression:
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, which includes:
- freedom of the press and other media;
- freedom to receive or impart information or ideas;
- freedom of artistic creativity; and
- academic freedom and freedom of scientific research.
(2) The right in subsection (1) does not extend to
- propaganda for war;
- incitement of imminent violence; or
- advocacy of hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion, and that constitutes incitement to cause harm.
Clause 18 – Freedom of Association: Everyone has the right to freedom of association.
Clause 36 – Limitations Clause:
(1) The rights in the Bill of Rights may be limited only in terms of law of general application to the extent that the limitation is reasonable and justifiable in an open and democratic society based on human dignity, equality and freedom, taking into account all relevant factors, including-
- the nature of the right;
- the importance of the purpose of the limitation;
- the nature and extent of the limitation;
- the relation between the limitation and its purpose; and
- less restrictive means to achieve the purpose.
(2) Except as provided in subsection (1) or in any other provision of the Constitution, no law may limit any right entrenched in the Bill of Rights.
National Laws and Regulations Affecting Sector
Relevant national-level laws and regulations affecting civil society include:
- Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Act 108 of 1996 (as amended)
- Companies Act 71 of 2008
- Companies Amendmen Act of 2011
- Non-Profit Organisations Act 71 of 1997 (as amended) (“NPO Act”)
- Trust Property Control Act 57 of 1988 (“TPCA”)
- Income Tax Act 58 of 1962 (as amended) (“ITA”)
- Value Added Tax Act 89 of 1991 (“VATA”)
Pending NGO Legislative / Regulatory Initiatives
The South African Nonprofit Organisations Summit
The National Department of Social Development hosted the South African Nonprofit Organisation Summit (the Summit) during 15-17 August 2012 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Summit was, according to the Department, aimed at creating a platform for effective partnerships between the government and nonprofit sector as mandated by the Nonprofit Organisations Act 1997, Act 71 of 1997, as amended. The Summit was also attended by the provincial ministers for social development, the national Minister of Social Development and, on the second day, the President of South Africa.
The Summit endeavoured to identify opportunities for supporting the nonprofit sector to ensure sustainability; identify and explore mechanisms to improve an enabling environment for nonprofit organisations; and to provide clear directives on the review of the legal framework on the nonprofit sector. One of the parallel commissions at the Summit focused on exploring options for the review of the legal framework on the nonprofit sector. Some of the issues emanating from the discussions at the commission, included:
- Decentralizing the registration processes in terms of the Nonprofit Organisations Act (NPO Act) which is currently taking place at one central location,
- Making application and reporting forms prescribed in terms of the NPO Act less complex,
- Making the application for registration in terms of the NPO Act available in other official languages,
- Improving document management at the Department to avoid missing documentation,
- Increasing communication amongst key institutions dealing with NPOs,
- Shortening the registration process, and
- Establishing a self-regulatory NPO Council.
The proposed establishment of a self-regulatory NPO Council in South Africa sparked some controversy during discussions at the commission as some delegates felt that a self-regulatory council, similar to the Charities Commission in the United Kingdom, may not be a suitable option for South Africa.
The Department also circulated a document at the Summit entitled: Policy Framework on Nonprofit Organisations Law (the Policy Document). The Policy Document captures the foundational principles of government’s intended review of the legislative framework affecting the non-profit sector. The Policy Document further states that: “The objective of the review is to ensure that the new regulatory framework is appropriate to the legal and socio-economy contexts of South Africa as a constitutional democracy and an open society.”
The Policy Document proposes, amongst other, the establishment of a new entity to be called The South African Nonprofit Organisations Regulatory Authority that will deal with the registration of nonprofit organisations, investigate complaints and enforce compliance, raise awareness and education and provide public access to information.
The Policy Document further states that: “It will be therefore be imperative for voluntary associations, nonprofit companies and nonprofit trusts to be subjected to the same rules regarding formation, governance and reporting requirements in order to circumvent any legal loopholes that will undermine the principles of public beneficiation and disclosure. This will further create greater equality within the nonprofit sector and will also promote public confidence in the sector.” (page 6)
The above statement is seemingly in contradiction with a later statement in the Policy Document which provides that: “There will be therefore a need for the regulatory framework to differentiate between the different categories of NPOs and to align standards and the regulation regiment accordingly.”(page 12)
With reference to international organisations operating in South Africa, the Policy Document provides that: “The regulation of foreign organisations that have established a presence in South Africa requires special consideration. A simple process that allows foreign organisations to be registered and maintained in South Africa must be developed, while providing for recourse in cases of misconduct and winding up, particularly with respect to liabilities for debts, the duties and responsibilities of the foreign office bearers and inter group transactions. Foreign nonprofit organisations must equally be subjected to the same requirements and obligations as that of any registered nonprofit organisation. However, registration for foreign organisations must be compulsory considering the risk of money laundering and financing of terrorist activities.” (page 18)
Lotteries Policy Review
The Department of Trade and Industry during August 2012 published a discussion document entitled Lotteries Policy Review, which outlines the Department’s policy proposals to amend the Lotteries Act of 1997 to improve the governance and management of the lottery industry and the distribution of funds to non-profit organisations. The Lotteries Act allows for the operation of a national lottery which in turn provides additional revenue to support good causes. The distribution of the revenue to good causes has been subject to increased controversy in recent months. Some of the recommendations of the policy review include: the appointment of distribution agencies on a full-time basis (currently they are appointed on a part-time basis); the introduction of an internal review mechanism for aggrieved applicants; the introduction of different adjudication procedures for small, medium and large grants; and the introduction of application-based funding and proactive funding, the latter being informed by national priorities. Read the complete Lotteries Policy Review.
The Financial Action Task Force Report
The Financial Action Task Force and the Eastern Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group recently published a report entitled: Mutual Evaluation Report - Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (the report). The report concludes that South Africa has not assessed potential risks of terrorist financing posed within the non-profit sector and recommended that NPOs should be compelled to register under the Nonprofit Organisations Act and the Directorate for Nonprofit Organisations should be given the power to sanction office-bearers, impose fines and freeze accounts of NPOs that are in violation of oversight measures. It is not clear whether the South African Government will support this initiative.
The Protection of Information Bill
The Protection of Information Bill [B6-2010] which is aimed at the protection of certain information from destruction, loss or unlawful disclosure has, amidst significant public controversy, been passed by the National Council of Provinces on November 29, 2012. The Bill will now be considered by the National Assembly, which is South Africa’s highest parliamentary structure. The Bill, in essence, defines the kind of state information that requires protection against alteration, destruction, loss or disclosure. It further provides for a procedure of classifying and declassifying such information and punishment in the event of non-compliance. The ‘B’ version of the Bill, has been called The Protection of State Information Bill [B 6B-2010], was, in the wake of ongoing opposition and controversy, on November 22, 2011 adopted by members of Parliament. The Bill was referred to the National Council of Provinces (the Council) which has reportedly established an ad hoc committee to report to the Council during 2012.
The constitutionality of the Bill has been subject to significant public scrutiny in South Africa. One of the key concerns relates to ‘what’ information can be considered to be in the national interest and consequently classified as confidential or secret. Another key concern relates to ‘who’ can determine what information is in the national interest and consequently classify such information as confidential or secret. In terms of the Bill, any head of an organ of state, as defined, may classify or reclassify information using the classification levels set out in the Bill. The power to declare information as confidential or secret is accordingly given to broad range of state officials.
The Bill, in its current format, allows for a veil of secrecy to be cast over certain information and may consequently limit public accountability and scrutiny of matters in the public interest. A number of eminent institutions and academics have criticized the initial version of the Bill. The General Council of the Bar (GCB) during August 2010 reported to Parliament that the initial version of the Bill does not pass constitutional muster. The GCB was of the view that some provisions were contrary to the foundational values of the South African Constitution. The GCB also pointed out that the current Promotion of Access to Information Act of 2000, which also applies to state, has been enacted in terms of the Constitution and allows for state information to be legitimately withheld from the public domain. The ruling party has made some concessions which are reflected in the latest version of the Bill, but even this version of the Bill has remained controversial. The concessions revolved around who would be authorized to classify information, provision for an independent appeal process and the removal of minimum sentencing provisions. The latest version of the further Bill states that interpretation measures taken in terms thereof must, amongst other, have regard to the freedom of expression, the right of access to information and the other rights and freedoms enshrined in the Bill of Rights; and be consistent with article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and have regard to South Africa’s international obligations.
There are three kinds of civil society organisations in South Africa, namely:
- Voluntary associations that are established in terms of common law.
- Non-profit trusts that are established in terms of the Trust Property Control Act, and
- Non-profit companies that are established in terms of the Companies Act.
Any of these CSOs can register in terms of the Nonprofit Organisations Act of 1997, provided that those CSOs comply with a number of requirements listed in that Act. In essence, the founding document of such CSOs must contain prescribed information (including the name, objectives, non-profit distribution constraint, governance structures, etc) and narrative and financial reports must be submitted to the Directorate for Nonprofit Organisations on an annual basis.
Public Benefit Status
South Africa uses a tiered regulatory approach toward public benefit status.
As a first step, the Nonprofit Organisations Act defines a nonprofit organisation as a trust, company or other association of persons established for a public purpose and the income and property of which are not distributable to its members or office-bearers except as reasonable compensation for services rendered. Applicants must submit documentation to the Directorate of Nonprofit Organisations for registration.
Second, a nonprofit organization may apply for the status of “public benefit organization.” Among other requirements, the organization's sole purpose must be to undertake one or more public benefit activities, carried out in a non-profit manner and with an altruistic or philanthropic intent. Public benefit organizations are restricted from using their resources to directly or indirectly support, advance, or oppose any political party, but they are not restricted from lobbying. They are entitled to a broad range of fiscal benefits, including a partial income tax exemption, an exemption on donations tax, and an exemption on transfer duty on immovable property.
Third, Public benefit organizations may apply for the right to receive tax-deductible donations.
Barriers to Entry
The legal framework for each of the available organizational forms is generally enabling, and does not include barriers to formation, establishment or registration. Problems worth noting here are in regard to the establishment and registration of nonprofit organizations. Incorporating a non-profit company in South Africa is, despite the new Companies Act of 2008, subject to significant delays. Furthermore, the Nonprofit Organisations Act sets a fixed time period of two months within which registration applications must be decided upon; the NPO Directorate is not, however, complying with this deadline. Applicants must routinely wait up to six months to be registered. The NPO Directorate has, during October 2012, introduced an online application process for NPOs. This new system is aimed at reducing registration delays.
Barriers to Operational Activity
There are no serious legal barriers affecting the operational activity of CSOs in South Africa.
It is worth noting, however, that non-profit trusts, as accountable institutions under the Financial Intelligence Centre Act of 2001 (FICA), are subject to registration with FICA. FICA has the object of combating money-laundering activities in South Africa. Trusts, including non-profit trusts, are regarded as accountable institutions in terms of FICA and must accordingly comply with its provisions. The Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment Act of 2008, which came into operation on 01 December 2010, have introduced some amendments to FICA which are of critical importance to non-profit trusts. These amendments were not specifically directed at non-profit trusts, but include them under the definition of ‘accountable institution’. The amended provisions require accountable institutions to, amongst other, register with the Financial Intelligence Centre (Centre) and notify the Centre of any changes to the registration details. The Centre is empowered to issue directives to ensure monitoring and compliance with FICA. Inspectors, appointed in terms of the Act, are allowed to enter and inspect any premises of an accountable institution and may, in certain instances, be able to direct persons to appear for questioning, produce documents and furnish information. Inspectors will also be able to open any strong-room or safe and use any computers system on the premises to access data. Accountable institutions failing to register with or provide information to the Centre are guilty of an offence and may, upon conviction, be liable to a fine of up to R100m ($13.3m) or a maximum of 15 years’ imprisonment. Non-profit trusts, as accountable institutions, were required to register with the Centre at the end of February 2011. On 01 March 2011 the Centre issued a statement recommending:"that institutions that have not as yet registered, do so as soon as possible. Late registrations closer to 1 March 2011 will be viewed more favorably, as sanctions could be issued for late registration in due course. The FIC reserves the right to issue sanctions or penalties for late registration under the Financial Intelligence Centre Act No 38 of 2001 (the FIC Act).”
It is also worth noting that opening a bank account has become a challenge for some non-profit organisations operating in South Africa. Community-based organisations that are established as voluntary associations will have to wait for registration in terms of the Nonprofit Organisations Act (up to six months) to open a bank account. Organisations having board members that are based outside of South Africa may also find it a challenge to open bank account in South Africa.
Barriers to Speech / Advocacy
CSOs in South Africa are not prohibited from criticizing the government or advocating for politically unpopular causes. There are no legal restrictions or governmental harassment of such activities. CSOs that are involved with causes that are unpopular from a government’s perspective may ordinarily not attract significant funding support from government. But CSOs have been involved with the processes of drafting of laws and lobbying for legislation and government policies. CSOs that have tax exemption cannot use their resources to support, oppose or advance the activities of any political party.
Barriers to International Contact
There are no legal barriers impeding international contact or communication.
Barriers to Resources
Generally, the law does not impose any constraints on the ability of CSOs to seek and secure funding. There are no special rules for CSOs to receive foreign funding. CSOs are permitted to carry out commercial activities, either directly or through a for-profit subsidiary. CSOs can compete for government funds based on objective criteria. Government departments and development funding agencies have, however, been criticized by CSOs for having negatively impacted on the ability of CSOs to secure funding.
It is worth noting, however, the Consumer Protection Act of 2008 came into operation on 01 April 2011 and regulates, amongst other, direct marketing. In terms of this Act direct marketing includes approaching a person, either in person or by mail or electronic communication, for the direct or indirect purpose of, amongst other, requesting a person to make a donation of any kind for any reason. The National Consumer Commission (the Commission) has the discretion, in terms of this Act, to establish a registry in which any person can register a pre-emptive block (either generally or for specific purposes) against direct marketing communication. Regulations have been published by the Minister of Trade and Industry which also prescribe mechanisms to block direct marketing communication.
There are a few important implications for non-profits soliciting donations in South Africa once the relevant provisions of the Act and the regulations are implemented. Firstly, the Act will effectively allow individuals and legal persons to block non-profit organisations from soliciting donations by registering pre-emptive blocks. The regulations allow for the establishment of a registration facility. Secondly, all direct marketers, including non-profits soliciting donations from the public, will have to assume that a comprehensive pre-emptive block has been registered unless confirmed otherwise by the Commission. Thirdly, all direct marketers must register with the Commission (and annually confirm their details) and apply in writing to the Commission to find out if a pre-emptive block has been registered. Fourthly, non-profits applying to find out about pre-emptive blocks, will in all probability have to wait some time as the Commission will be required to put in place a screening and validation process in respect those registering as direct marketers. Pending registration, the direct marketer will not be able to obtain information on pre-emptive blocks.
|UN Universal Periodic Review Reports||UPR South Africa
Compilation of UN information
Summary of stakeholders' information
Report of the Working Group
Decision on the Outcome
Draft Report on the eighth session of the Human Rights Council
|Reports of UN Special Rapporteurs||South Africa|
|USIG (United States International Grantmaking) Country Notes||USIG: South Africa|
|U.S. State Department||2008 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: South Africa|
|Failed States Index Reports||Foreign Policy: Failed States Index 2012|
|IMF Country Reports||South Africa and the IMF|
|International Commission of Jurists||Not available|
|International Center for Not-for-Profit Law Online Library||South Africa|
While we aim to maintain information that is as current as possible, we realize that situations can rapidly change. If you are aware of any additional information or inaccuracies on this page, please keep us informed; write to ICNL at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UK should revisit on South Africa and concept of aid (May 2013)
The UK ending its bilateral, grant-based aid program to South Africa from 2015 onwards apparently came as an unwelcome shock to the South African government. But for those monitoring the Department for International Development's (DfID) shrinking aid country portfolio, it was less of a surprise, and follows recent moves by the UK to cut funds to middle-income countries as donor budgets are squeezed.
Joint Media Statement By Minister Bathabile Dlamini and the Ministerial Task Team On Non-Profit Organisations (February 2013)
The Minister of Social Development, Ms Bathabile Dlamini, held a meeting with the Ministerial Task Team on Non-Profit Organisations (NPO) to discuss administrative matters relating to the NPO sector, the registration status of NPOs, and also reach agreement on the way forward with regards to de-registration of NPOs that failed to comply with the NPO Act (Act No.71 of 1997). The meeting noted that currently there were 64,476 organisations registered with the NPO Directorate in the Department of Social Development. Of these, 23,034 have been de-registered for failure to comply with the NPO Act. The meeting noted that the bulk of the NPOs affected by the decision were those that provided welfare services to the most vulnerable groups such as children, older persons and people with disabilities. The meeting further applauded the Minister's decision to provisionally reinstate all the de-registered organisations as the decision is in the best interest of beneficiaries that receive services from the affected organisations on behalf of Government.
Banking woes for charity suspected of financing Hamas (January 2013)
The Al-Aqsa Foundation, a charity registered focusing on providing aid to Palestinians has recently had its banking facilities with two South African banks suspended. The Foundation is suspected by the US government to be raising funds for Hamas, the Palestinian resistance movement and governing authority of the Gaza strip.
Proposals to Change the NPO Act? (January 2013)
Seemingly unbeknownst to the vast majority of South Africa’s over 120,000 non-profit organisations (NPOs), the Department of Social Development (DSD) undertook a series of ‘partnership’ meetings and summits across the country in June and July 2012 with selected NPOs. It was now been realized by many NPOs that an automated registration process for NPOs has been put into effect by the NPO Directorate, resulting in over 40,000 NPOs being deregistered over the last few months. Reports from affected NPOs indicate that appeals against such deregistration have gone unheeded due to there being no Appeals Panel in place.
Unwarranted harassment of activists: CIVICUS and HURISA (December 2012)
A fact finding mission by CIVICUS and the Human Rights Institute of South Africa (HURISA) has unearthed evidence concerning judicial delays in the case against South African activist Angy Peters, who has been in custody for almost 6 weeks.
ANC pushes secrecy Bill through NCOP (December 2012)
The ANC has pushed the final amendments to the Protection of State Information Bill through the National Council of Provinces, despite protests.
'Insult law' commonplace in many countries (November 2012)
South African Communist Party (SACP) general secretary Blade Nzimande has called for a law protecting President Jacob Zuma against insults, the Star reported on Thursday. Nzimande was backing a call made by the SACP in KwaZulu-Natal on Monday, for a law protecting the presidency from attacks that were "unfair, and lacking in fact and truth".
Civil society statement on the occasion of the 2nd Southern Africa Regional Child Rights Conference in Johannesburg (November 2012)
"We, representatives of child rights focused organizations from across Southern Africa, which brought together a number of stakeholders including parliamentarians, government officials and various civil society organisations, are meeting under the auspices of the CRNSA to reflect on building a strong child rights movement in Southern Africa..."
UN member states urged to accept jurisdiction of ICC and ICJ (September 2012)
UN Member States have been urged to accept the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice. That was among the outcomes of a High Level Meeting on the Rule of Law, the first of its kind under the auspices of the UN General Assembly. President Jacob Zuma, however, used the forum to question the legitimacy of international organizations like the UN Security Council that implement and enforce international law.
Zuma to speak on rule of law at UN Assembly (September 2012)
President Jacob Zuma's first order of business in New York at the UN General Assembly will be a high level forum on the rule of law. The forum, which takes place on the sidelines of the 67th session of the General Assembly, is the first of its kind that will agree on a forward-looking agenda on strengthening the rule of law both nationally and internationally.
Questions linger about police force in protest at mine (September 2012)
More than 100 protestors were killed or injured by police gunfire in Marikana. Were these actions consistent with the principle of minimum force as embodied in South African law, which is supposed to guide the police in a democracy? By occupying the koppie, the miners were not doing any harm. Why was it decided to disperse them, considering that standing orders emphasize that "the use of force must be avoided at all costs" and "offensive measures" must be used only "if negotiations fail and life or property is in danger"? Should a different approach not have been taken in terms of the requirement that the "purpose of offensive action" should be to "de-escalate conflict"? Was it not apparent that there was massive potential for violence? If the commission of inquiry into Marikana is to make sense not just of the range of labour issues that led to the event, but also of the complexities of its horrifying conclusion, these are among the questions on which it will have to shed light.
The Independent Code of Governance for Non-profit Organizations to be adopted by CSOs (July 2012)
After two years of extensive consultation with hundreds of organizations and individuals across the country, The ‘Independent Code of Governance for Non-profit Organizations in South Africa is ready to be formally adopted by the civil society sector. The Independent Code will be launched at civil society events in Johannesburg on July 25, 2012 and in Cape Town on July 27, 2012. The code is the first of its kind to be collectively and communally developed by NPOs themselves, and the first that can be applied to the entire sector of around 150,000 organizations, regardless of size, capacity and purpose.
Secrecy Bill breakthrough as ANC agrees to major changes (May 2012)
The African National Congress (ANC) has bowed to pressure on the Protection of State Information Bill, proposing much greater protection for journalists and whistle-blowers. ANC members of the ad hoc committee deliberating the Protection of State Information Bill say the defence clause they have proposed will ensure that journalists and whistle-blowers who disclose classified information revealing criminal activity or corruption will not be criminally liable in court.
Secrecy Bill continues to receive criticism during Parliamentary hearings (April 2012)
Controversial secrecy laws proposed in South Africa have received widespread public criticism from during parliamentary hearings. The protection of state information bill would allow government officials to classify significant parts of their work as secret. Whistleblowers and journalists convicted of possessing, leaking or publishing such information could face up to 25 years in jail.
Secrecy Bill - Views from South African civil society (November 2011)
Public consultation on the Protection of State Information bill (September 2011)
New policy on protests will restore order (September 2011)
Final Info Bill draft adopted (September 2011)
New protests over info bill start today (July 2011)
The foregoing information was collected by the ICNL NGO Law Monitor partner in South Africa, Ricardo Wyngaard, Ricardo Wyngaard Attorneys.