Equality, reconciliation and instability: the challenges before the South African Constitutional Court
5 November 2019
On Wednesday last week I had the great pleasure of speaking to a fellow South African, which we post in this week’s episode of Law Pod UK. I promise there are no references to rugby in the entirety of the interview. How could we have predicted anything anyway?
Kate O’Regan is the Director of the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights at Oxford University. She is also a former judge of the South African Constitutional Court (1994 – 2009). One fellow judge has said that she is “one of the finest minds ever appointed as a judge in South Africa”.
Our discussion ranges over a multitude of topics, such as the difficulty of reconciling customary law practices with the rights of women under the Bill of Rights, and the problem of enforcing the rule of law in the townships and on public transport in a country where most people are dependent on the state owned Metrorail to get to their place of work.
Here are the laws and some of the cases referred to in the interview:
- Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996
- Bhe and Others v Khayelitsha Magistrate and Others (CCT 49/03)  ZACC 17; 2005 (1) SA 580 (CC); 2005 (1) BCLR 1 (CC) (15 October 2004) (succession and male primogeniture)
- Gumede (born Shange) v President of the Republic of South Africa and Others (CCT 50/08)  ZACC 23; 2009 (3) BCLR 243 (CC) ; 2009 (3) SA 152 (CC) (8 December 2008) (women’s right to own property)
- Shilubana and Others v Nwamitwa (CCT 03/07)  ZACC 9; 2008 (9) BCLR 914 (CC); 2009 (2) SA 66 (CC) (4 June 2008) (traditional leadership)
- Rail Commuters Action Group v Transnet Ltd t/a Metrorail (CCT 56/03)  ZACC 20; 2005 (2) SA 359 (CC); 2005 (4) BCLR 301 (CC) (26 November 2004)
- Fose v Minister of Safety and Security (CCT14/96)  ZACC 6; 1997 (7) BCLR 851; 1997 (3) SA 786 (5 June 1997)
I will add a few more citations from our discussion. Kate O’Regan should be saluted, like the tireless administrators of BAILII, for her involvement in the development of SAFLII, a free-access-to-law website that reports judgments, and now legislation, from southern Africa.