Failing to respect and fulfill: South African law and the right to protest for children


  • Nurina Ally Equal Education Law Centre



Despite the historical and ongoing importance of protest as a vehicle for children to express themselves, current laws fail to protect and enable children’s participation in protest. More than two decades after the formal end of apartheid, a child may be subject to criminal processes for convening a peaceful, unarmed protest. This article highlights the importance of the right to protest for children and the obligation on the state to respect, protect and fulfil the right to protest, specifically taking into account children’s interests. Through a description of the Mlungwana & Others vs The State and Others case, the article highlights the manner in which the criminalisation of peaceful protest by the Regulation of Gatherings Act fails to take into account the best interests of children and violates the right to protest.


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Author Biography

Nurina Ally, Equal Education Law Centre

Nurina Ally is the Executive Diirector of Equal Education Law Centre, based in Cape Town, South Africa. She specialises in constitutional and administrative law and public interest litigation. She holds a BA LLB from the University of Witwatersrand and a Masters in African Studies from the University of Edinburgh. Before joining the Equal Education Law Centre, she practicied as a senior associate in the public law department at Webber Wentzel Attorneys, and clerked for Justice Edwin Cameron at the Constitutional Court.






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