Re-opening the debate on developing the crime of public violence in light of the violent protests and strikes.
While section 17 of the Constitution guarantees the right to freedom of assembly, the violence that often accompanies the exercise of this right culminates in the violation of the rights of non-protesters to, inter alia, life, dignity, equality and freedom and security of the person. The crime of public violence is the primary measure in place for the maintenance of the community’s interest in public peace and order as well as the protection against the invasion of the rights of other people. Therefore, this dissertation seeks to lead a debate on the question whether the apparent failure of the crime of public violence to adequately safeguard the rights of non-protesters means that the crime falls short of the objectives of section 39(2) of the Constitution and thus requires to be developed in order to promote the spirit, purport and objects of the Bill of Rights? If so, how must the development take place in order to meet these objectives? Addressing the topic for debate invariably leads to an assessment of the jurisprudential direction the South African courts are likely to take in the question of developing the crime of public violence as a remedy to the erosion of the rights of non-protesters during violent protests.