South African Constitution > Protecting Human Rights
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Protecting Human Rights

Chapter 9 of the Constitution creates seven institutions or protection mechanisms for protecting peoples’ rights. The institutions are:

  • The Public Protector
  • South African Human Rights Commission
  • Commission on Gender Equality
  • Office of the Auditor-General
  • Independent Electoral Commission
  • Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities
  • Independent Communications Authority of South Africa

Other institutions that also protect people’s rights are the constitutional court and the land claims court. People can also take cases about human rights abuses to the magistrate’s courts and high courts. If you take a case to the magistrate’s court or high court, you can represent yourself but usually you would need a lawyer to prepare the papers and to send them to court. This costs a lot of money. The protection mechanisms are free, and people can send in their complaints to be investigated without having to go to a lawyer.