- Religious Freedom
- Religious Regulation
- Religious Support
- Public Opinion
Preferred Religion (2015)1: Western Christian
Majority Religion (2015)2: Protestant (incl. Anglican, Pentecostal) (32%)
Features Of Constitution
|Is there a constitution?3||yes|
|Does the constitution state an official religion?3||not stated|
|Does the constitution provide for freedom of religion?3||yes [Section 15(1)]|
|Does the constitution protect religious equality/non-discrimination?3||yes [Section 9(3)]|
|Translation3||Original was written in English.|
|Current as of3||August 26, 2018|
Constitution Excerpts (clauses that reference religion)3
May God protect our people.
... God bless South Africa.
Section 6. Languages.
(5) A Pan South African Language Board established by national legislation must---
(b) promote and ensure respect for---
(ii) Arabic, Hebrew, Sanskrit and other languages used for religious purposes in South Africa.
Section 9. Equality
With respect to unfair discrimination solely on the grounds of … religion …
(3) The state may not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds, including ... religion, conscience, belief
Section 15. Freedom of religion, belief and opinion.
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of conscience, religion, thought, belief and opinion.
(2) Religious observances may be conducted at state or state-aided institutions, provided that---
(a) those observances follow rules made by the appropriate public authorities;
(b) they are conducted on an equitable basis; and
(c) attendance at them is free and voluntary.
(3) (a) This section does not prevent legislation recognising---
(i) marriages concluded under any tradition, or a system of religious ... law; or
(ii) systems of personal and family law under any tradition, or adhered to by persons professing a particular religion.
(b) Recognition in terms of paragraph (a) must be consistent with this section and the other provisions of the Constitution.
Section 16. Freedom of expression.
(2) The right in subsection (1) [outlining freedom of expression] does not extend to---
(c) advocacy of hatred that is based on ... religion, and that constitutes incitement to cause harm.
Section 31. Cultural, religious and linguistic communities.
(1) Persons belonging to a ... religious ... community may not be denied the right, with other members of that community---
(a) to ... practise their religion ...; and
(b) to form, join and maintain ... religious ... associations and other organs of civil society.
(2) The rights in subsection (1) may not be exercised in a manner inconsistent with any provision of the Bill of Rights.
Section 35. Arrested, detained and accused persons.
(2) Everyone who is detained, including every sentenced prisoner, has the right---
(f) to communicate with, and be visited by, that person’s---
(iii) chosen religious counsellor ...
Section 37. States of emergency.
(5) No Act of Parliament that authorises a declaration of a state of emergency, and no legislation enacted or other action taken in consequence of a declaration, may permit or authorise---
(c) any derogation from a section mentioned in column 1 of the Table of Non-Derogable Rights, to the extent indicated opposite that section in column 3 of the Table.
Section 181. Establishment and governing principles.
(1) The following state institutions strengthen constitutional democracy in the Republic:
(c) The Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities.
Section 185. Functions of Commission [for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities].
(1) The primary objects of the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities are---
(a) to promote respect for the rights of ... religious ... communities;
(b) to promote and develop peace, friendship, humanity, tolerance and national unity among ... religious ... communities, on the basis of equality, non-discrimination and free association; and
(2) The Commission has the power, as regulated by national legislation, necessary to achieve its primary objects, including the power to monitor, investigate, research, educate, lobby, advise and report on issues concerning the rights of ... religious ... communities.
Section 186. Composition of Commission.
(1) The number of members of the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities and their appointment and terms of office must be prescribed by national legislation.
(2) The composition of the Commission must---
(a) be broadly representative of the main ... religious ... communities in South Africa; ...
1. The Religious Characteristics of States Dataset Project: Government Religious Preference (GRP) measures government-level favoritism toward, and disfavor against, 30 religious denominations. A series of ordered categorical variables index the state's institutional favoritism in 28 different ways. The variables are combined to form five composite indices for five broad components of state-religion: official status, religious education, financial support, regulatory burdens, and freedom of practice. The five components' composites in turn are further combined into a single composite score, the GRP score. The RCS Data Project would like to acknowledge, recognize, and express our deepest gratitude for the significant contributions of Todd M. Johnson, the principal investigator of the World Christian Database, the co-principal investigator of the World Religion Database, and co-author of the World Christian Encyclopedia series.
2. The Religious Characteristics of States Dataset Project: Demographics reports annual estimates of religious demographics, both country by country and region by region. It estimates populations and percentages of adherents of 100 religious denominations including second level subdivisions within Christianity and Islam. The RCS Data Project would like to acknowledge, recognize, and express our deepest gratitude for the significant contributions of Todd M. Johnson, the principal investigator of the World Christian Database, the co-principal investigator of the World Religion Database, and co-author of the World Christian Encyclopedia series.
3. Text from country constitutions was copied from primary documents obtained online using a variety of sources, including the Constitute Project, World Constitutions Illustrated, and government sources. When the text was in a language other than English, it was translated to English by ARDA staff or with web-based translation utilities such as Google Translate. Emphases were added to the text by ARDA staff to differentiate religious content from non-religious content. Text is current to the date listed in the "Current as of" field shown above. Please contact us at email@example.com if you are aware of any incorrect information provided on this page.