Assessing the Quality of Democracy in South Africa
Chapter Six. Pillar Four: Freedom and Equality
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Pillar Four: Freedom and Equality
“… economic and social well-being create self-confident citizens able and willing to play a part in the democratic life of their society; to know and exercise their civil and political rights; and to enjoy personal and political freedoms.”(Beetham et al., 2002b: 59)
As discussed in Chapter 2, ‘freedom’ and ‘equality’ can be empirically translated into a set of civil and political rights for freedom and social and economic rights for equality. An extensive array of these rights is contained in the South African Constitution which is considered to be among the most progressive Constitutions in the world for this reason. These rights are contained predominantly in the second chapter of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights. It is this chapter which is the cornerstone of constitutional democracy in South Africa as it “enshrines the rights of all people in South Africa and affirms the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom” (section 7(1)). Moreover, it applies to all law, and binds the legislature, the executive, the judiciary and all organs of state.
In the first section of this chapter, the extent to which civil and political rights are upheld in South Africa is assessed in three parts. The first discusses the dimension of civil rights; the second assesses the existence of discrimination in South Africa and the third part assesses the dimension of political rights....
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