State Institutions which support Constitutional democracy

What are they?

Did you know that South Africa is a constitution democracy? Our Constitution guarantees wonderful rights -- these constitutional rights are supported, promoted, and protected by independent institutions.

You will find these institutions under chapter 9 of the Constitution

Chapter 9 institutions are impartial, independent, and subject only to the Constitution and the relevant laws made in the terms of the Constitution. They exercise their powers and perform their functions "without fear, favour, or prejudice:

As a South African citizen, you are able to directly contact these institutions if your rights have been violated. The institutions have wide powers which, in some cases, include searching premises and attaching and removing appropriate articles/documents as well as to subpoena people to appear before them.

Chapter 9 institutions report to the National Assembly on their activities and performance

Let's look at each institution in more detail and how/why you would reach out to them

The Public Protector

The Public Protector's job is to investigate claims of abuse of power; unfair or rude treatment; unnecessary delays; non-adherence to rules; dishonest or improper handling of money; and personal gain through bribes and corruption.

How to contact the Public Protector

Reports can be made in person at a Public Protector office in any province. For more advice visit this page

You can report corrupt activity to the Public Protector in various ways:

  • Phone 0800 11 20 40, toll free
  • Complete the online form
  • Download a complaints form, fill it in and post it to: Public Protector, Private Bag X677, PRETORIA, 0001
  • Email: You can also send the form you downloaded to this address.

South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC)

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) promotes and protects the human rights of all citizens.

The SAHRC will help you if any of your rights in the Bill of Rights have been violated or abused. You can check the Bill of Rights to make sure that your rights have been violated or abused.

How to contact the SAHRC

The SAHRC will usually not be able to help you where:

  • Your case does not involve a violation of any of the rights in the Bill of Rights.

  • Your problem happened before 27 April 1994.

  • Your case is a criminal case and you need a lawyer (Legal Aid might help in these cases).

  • You have been convicted of a crime and you want to appeal.

If you\'re not sure whether your case is one, which the SAHRC will deal with, please contact the SAHRC.

Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities

This Commission\'s job is to promote respect for all communities in South Africa regarding culture, religion, and language, as well as to build national unity among these communities.

You approach the CRL if you feel you are being unfairly treated because of your culture, religion, or linguistic heritage.

A person belonging to a cultural, religious, or linguistic community may lodge a complaint with the Commission when that person/community believes that rights are threatened or that they are denied the right to enjoy and practice their culture and religion and use their language; as well as when that community is denied the right to freely form, join and maintain cultural, religious and linguistic associations.

How to contact the CRL

A complaint should be made in writing, in prescribed forms in various ways including walk-in, fax, email, postal address, referrals, telephone, and any other mode of communication:

The Commission will assist those who cannot write or the disabled to put their complaints in writing.

Commission for Gender Equality (CGE)

The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) monitors and evaluates the policies and practices of government, the private sector and other organisations to ensure that they promote and protect gender equality

The CGE educates the public on gender equality, reviews legislation from a gender-perspective, produces research and makes recommendations to Parliament or other authorities.

The CGE investigates complaints on any gender-related issue

How to contact the CGE

There are a number of ways that you can lodge your complaint with the CGE:

  1. Hard copy complaint form
  2. Online complaint form
  3. By email

A complaint can be made in any language.

Your complaint should include the following information.

  • your name, address, and telephone number

  • who you are complaining about and their contact details

  • what happened to you, when it happened, and who was involved

  • what law you think has been breached and how

  • whether you have made a complaint anywhere else and, if so, what happened

Independent Electoral Commission (IEC)

The IEC manages elections at all three levels of government to make sure that elections are free and fair.

Citizens can lodge a complaint with the IEC if they feel or suspect votes have been tempted with which resulted in an unfair outcome.

How to contact the IEC:

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) 

ICASA regulates broadcasting in the public interest. ICASA acts as a watchdog of the telecommunications, broadcasting, and postal industries.

You can lodge a complaint against any service provider licensed by ICASA to provide communications services such as broadcasting, telecommunications or postal services. See the categories of complaints here:

How to contact ICASA

The ICASA website has detailed instructions on the complaint's procedure


The Auditor-General of South Africa (AGSA) is the supreme audit institution (SAI) of South Africa. It is the only institution that, by law, has to audit and report on how the government is spending the South African taxpayers' money.

Other structures:

In addition to Chapter 9 institutions, the Constitution sets up other structures in South Africa to make sure human rights are promoted and protected:

Constitutional Court

The Constitutional Court is South Africa\'s highest court in all matters concerning the Constitution. The court only deals with constitutional matters. All courts must protect and uphold the Constitution; however, the judges of the Constitutional Court are the ultimate guardians of South Africa\'s new culture of human rights and democracy.

An aggrieved person should almost always exhaust other options before trying to approach the Constitutional Court. If you wish to use the law to assert your rights, you will generally need to begin in the High Court.


Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID)

IPID, formerly known as the Independent Complaints Directorate, investigates all cases where the police have acted wrongly or have violated rights.

Citizens can lay complaints with IPID relating to deaths of persons in police custody or deaths which are a result of police action; the involvement of police officers in criminal activities such as robbery, assault and behaviour which is prohibited such as neglect of duties or breaking the South African Police Service (SAPS) code of conduct.

Click on the link for more information:

Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA)

The CCMA helps anyone whose labour rights have been violated and/or is a victim of an unfair labour practice by their employer involving matters such as dismissal, wage disputes, unfair working conditions, or discrimination. It resolves disputes between employers and employees through conciliation, mediation, and arbitration.

See this page for how to get help from the CCMA,CCMA%2DReferral%2DForms).

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA)

In the criminal justice system, the police investigate crimes and make arrests; the NPA prepares and conducts prosecutions

The Constitution says that the NPA must be able to act \"without fear, favour or prejudice\" to ensure fair trials and to prevent improper interference by government. People can report issues such as corruption and fraud to the NPA

See this page for your rights as a victim of crime:

Special Investigating Unit

The SIU provides provide forensic investigation and civil litigation services to Combat corruption, serious malpractices, and maladministration to protect the interest of the State and the public.

Click on the link for more information:

Judicial Service Commission (JSC)

The JSC interviews candidates for judicial positions and make recommendations for appointment to the bench; deals with complaints brought against the Judges; manages the Register of Judges' Registrable interests; and advises national government on matters relating to the Judiciary.

Any member of the public may file a complaint of misconduct against a judge in a sworn affidavit:

See here for more info on lodging complaints in legal services

Financial and Fiscal Commission (FFC)

The FFC makes recommendations regarding the fair share of tax revenue for each sphere of government and the individual allocation for each province. It could also be regarded as a \"check and balance\" on the collection, allocation, and use of fiscal (tax revenue) resources.

Click on the link for more information:

Public Service Commission

The PSC investigates, monitors, and evaluates the organisation and administration of the public service. The PSC evaluates the achievements (or not) of government programmes and promotes measures that ensure effective and efficient performance within the Public Service as set out in the Constitution.

See here for info on how to lay complaints with the PSC relating to public servants

Pan South African Language Board (PANSALB)

This Board\'s task is to protect, promote and develop the eleven official languages as well as to promote and ensure respect for all languages spoken in this country. No citizen should be discriminated against because of the language they speak.

If you feel your linguistic human rights have been violated, reach out to PANSALB here

National Youth Development Agency

The NYDA addresses challenges faced by SA youth and works to promote youth development in government programmes and policies.

Click on the link for more information: