Promotion of Equality
PROMOTION OF EQUALITY
24. General responsibility to promote equality
(1) The State has a duty and responsibility to promote and achieve equality.
(2) All persons have a duty and responsibility to promote equality.
[Commencement of s 24 – to be proclaimed.]
25. Duty of State to promote equality
(1) The State must, where necessary with the assistance of the relevant constitutional institutions—
(a) develop awareness of fundamental rights in order to promote a climate of understanding, mutual respect and equality;
(b) take measures to develop and implement programmes in order to promote equality; and
(c) where necessary or appropriate—
(i) develop action plans to address any unfair discrimination, hate speech or harassment;
(ii) enact further legislation that seeks to promote equality and to establish a legislative framework in line with the objectives of this Act;
(iii) develop codes of practice as contemplated in this Act in order to promote equality, and develop guidelines, including codes in respect of reasonable accommodation;
(iv) provide assistance, advice and training on issues of equality;
(v) develop appropriate internal mechanisms to deal with complaints of unfair discrimination, hate speech or harassment;
(vi) conduct information campaigns to popularise this Act.
(2) The South African Human Rights Commission and other relevant constitutional institutions may, in addition to any other obligation, in terms of the Constitution or any law, request any other component falling within the definition of the State or any person to supply information on any measures relating to the achievement of equality including, where appropriate, on legislative and executive action and compliance with legislation, codes of practice and programmes.
(3) In addition to the powers and functions of the constitutional institutions these institutions are also competent to—
(a) assist complainants in instituting proceedings in an equality court, particularly complainants who are disadvantaged;
(b) conduct investigations into cases and make recommendations as directed by the court regarding persistent contraventions of this Act or cases of unfair discrimination, hate speech or harassment referred to them by an equality court;
(c) request from the Department, in the prescribed manner, regular reports regarding the number of cases and the nature and outcome thereof.
(4) All Ministers must implement measures within the available resources which are aimed at the achievement of equality in their areas of responsibility by—
(a) eliminating any form of unfair discrimination or the perpetuation of inequality in any law, policy or practice for which those Ministers are responsible; and
(b) preparing and implementing equality plans in the prescribed manner, the contents of which must include a time frame for implementation of such plans, formulated in consultation with the Minister of Finance.
(a) The equality plans must, within two years after the commencement of this Act, be submitted to the South African Human Rights Commission to be dealt with in the prescribed manner.
(b) The South African Human Rights Commission must consult with the Commission on Gender Equality when dealing with the plans contemplated in paragraph (a).
[Commencement of s 25 – to be proclaimed.]
26. Responsibility of persons operating in public domain to promote equality
It is the responsibility of any person directly or indirectly contracting with the State or exercising public power to promote equality by—
(a) adopting appropriate equality plans, codes, regulatory mechanisms and other appropriate measures for the effective promotion of equality in the spheres of their operation;
(b) enforcing and monitoring the enforcement of the equality plans, codes and regulatory mechanisms developed by them; and
(c) making regular reports to the relevant monitoring authorities or institutions as may be provided in regulations, where appropriate.
[Commencement of s 26 – to be proclaimed.]
27. Social commitment by all persons to promote equality
(1) Pursuant to section 26, all persons, non-governmental organisations, community-based organisations and traditional institutions must promote equality in their relationships with other bodies and in their public activities.
(2) The Minister must develop regulations in relation to this Act and other Ministers may develop regulations in relation to other Acts which require companies, closed corporations, partnerships, clubs, sports organisations, corporate entities and associations, where appropriate, in a manner proportional to their size, resources and influence, to prepare equality plans or abide by prescribed codes of practice or report to a body or institution on measures to promote equality.
[Commencement of s 27 – to be proclaimed.]
28. Special measures to promote equality with regard to race, gender and disability
(1) If it is proved in the prosecution of any offence that unfair discrimination on the grounds of race, gender or disability played a part in the commission of the offence, this must be regarded as an aggravating circumstance for purposes of sentence.
(2) The South African Human Rights Commission must, in its report referred to in section 15 of the Human Rights Commission Act, 1994 (Act 54 of 1994), include an assessment on the extent to which unfair discrimination on the grounds of race, gender and disability persists in the Republic, the effects thereof and recommendations on how best to address the problems.
(a) The State, institutions performing public functions and all persons have a duty and responsibility, in particular to—
(i) eliminate discrimination on the grounds of race, gender and disability;
(ii) promote equality in respect of race, gender and disability.
(b) In carrying out the duties and responsibilities referred to in paragraph (a), the State, institutions performing public functions and, where appropriate and relevant, juristic and non-juristic entities, must—
(i) audit laws, policies and practices with a view to eliminating all discriminatory aspects thereof;
(ii) enact appropriate laws, develop progressive policies and initiate codes of practice in order to eliminate discrimination on the grounds of race, gender and disability;
(iii) adopt viable action plans for the promotion and achievement of equality in respect of race, gender and disability; and
(iv) give priority to the elimination of unfair discrimination and the promotion of equality in respect of race, gender and disability.
[Commencement of s 28 – to be proclaimed.]
29. Illustrative list of unfair practices in certain sectors
(1) Without detracting from the generality of the provisions of this Act, the Schedule to this Act is intended to illustrate and emphasise some practices which are or may be unfair, that are widespread and that need to be addressed.
[Commencement of s 29(1): 1 September 2000 (Proc. 54, G. 21517).]
(2) The State must, where appropriate, ensure that legislative and other measures are taken to address the practices referred to in subsection (1).
[Commencement of s 29(2) – to be proclaimed.]
(3) The Minister must, on the recommendation of the Equality Review Committee, on an ongoing basis, assess the relevance of the practices contained in the Schedule for purposes of expanding, altering, varying or amending the list of practices in the Schedule.
[Commencement of s 29(3): 1 September 2000 (Proc. 54, G. 21517).]
(4) The Schedule is also intended to provide an illustrative list of practices that are or may be unfair discrimination in order to—
(a) address and eliminate these practices; and
(b) assist persons in interpreting their experiences and practices.
[Commencement of s 29(4): 1 September 2000 (Proc. 54, G. 21517).]
(5) The illustrative list of practices in the Schedule is not conclusive and must be considered and revised by the Equality Review Committee on a continuous basis.
[Commencement of s 29(5): 1 September 2000 (Proc. 54, G. 21517).]