Being the victim of discrimination is never pleasant, but actions can be taken if you believe that you are a victim of unfair discrimination or hate speech. A complaint can be lodged at any of the designated equality courts.
Who can go to the equality court?
The following people can institute proceedings:
The person or people who are victims of unfair discrimination or hate speech do not have to personally go to the equality courts. Furthermore, the South African Human Rights Commission, the Commission on Gender Equality and other bodies are all required to assist people in bringing a complaint to the equality courts and to conduct investigations into cases. Many instances of online hate speech have been brought to the Humans Rights Commission, not by the people being targeted, but by organisations and groups acting in the interest of the public.
What are equality courts?
What is unfair discrimination?
Not all discrimination is considered unfair. For example, actions can be taken to advance previously disadvantaged people, which is not considered unfair discrimination.
What happens at the equality court?
The rules and procedures in an equality court are more relaxed than in normal courts. The actual proceedings are held in a room that is arranged as a boardroom. This makes the general atmosphere a lot more comfortable and friendly. Rules of the Magistrates’ Court still applies, but the presiding officer does not enforce them so strictly. This is because the point of the equality court is to make the proceedings and the environment less intimidating for everyone involved.
Justice.gov.za. The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development. Equality Courts. [online] Available at: http://www.justice.gov.za/EQCact/eqc_faq.html/
This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)