Edited by Janice R. Bellace and Beryl ter Haar
Chapter 10: Human rights in the evolution of South African labour law
South Africa’s transition from a racist autocracy to a constitutional democracy was one of the most dramatic political transformations of recent times. Crucially, the new Constitution contained a ‘labour clause’ entrenching individual and collective labour rights. However, compliance with the Constitution meant compliance not only with the labour clause but with the entire Bill of Rights and international law. The chapter examines how the legislature has translated human rights into statutory provisions and how the courts have interpreted those provisions in giving effect to the underlying human rights which they embody. In some cases, it is noted, reference to human rights through the prism of the labour clause meant a narrowing down of those rights in the labour context whereas in other cases it led to a more generous interpretation of statutory labour rights.
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