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The Right to Truth, The Right to Know - The Law

Laws relating to the implementation of the right to truth

Laws relating to the implementation of the right to truth

  • Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (Act 108 of 1996). Section 32 of the Constitution says that"everyone has the right to access any information held by the state" and "any information held by another person and that is required for the exercise or protection of any rights"
  • Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act (34 of 1995)
  • Promotion of Access to Information Act (2 of 2000). The Promotion of Access to Information Act gives effect to the constitutional right to access to information
  • Protection of Information Act (84 of 1982)
  • Protected Disclosures Act (26 of 2000)

Court Cases

In a landmark judgment of Citizens and Others V McBride CCT 23/10) [2011] ZACC 11; 2011 (4) SA 191 (CC); 2011 (8) BCLR 816 (CC) (8 April 2011) the Constitutional Court upheld the rights of victims of apartheid era abuses, as well as the media and public, to speak the truth about crimes amnestied by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The Court held that truth-telling was the moral base of the transition from the injustice of apartheid to democracy and constitutionalism. It held further that the TRC process, which was premised on the necessity of truth-telling in pursuit of national unity and reconciliation, could not operate so as to render the truth false.