Restorative Justice in South Africa: Resolving Conflict

Published 11/12/2002
Type Article
Author(s) Brian Stout
Corresponding Authors Brian Stout, University of Fort Hare, South Africa

The purpose of this article is to explore the nature of restorative justice as it appears in the proposed South African Child Justice Bill. Restorative justice has taken different forms throughout the world; it is extremely popular both theoretically and with practitioners but instances of it being codified in legislation are still relatively rare.

The Child Justice Bill will allow and encourage restorative justice to be used at different stages in the criminal justice process, both as an alternative to prosecution and as a sentence. The enactment of the Bill will result in South Africa joining the list of countries which are seen as world leaders in  developing restorative justice initiatives.

This article considers what sort of restorative justice South Africa is developing. It explores some of the main dualities and tensions within restorative justice and outlines how they might be resolved within the new dispensation envisaged by the Bill.