Apartheid’s Criminal Law

  • Peter Parker
  • Joyce Mokhesi-Parker


Law is an activity for the wealthy. Robbed of wealth, the concerns of blacks became as marginal to the development of the legal system as those of the poor everywhere. We entered the courts as irritants, without status, as the dispossessed, without wealth, working in servitude and deprived of political rights. The white judges and magistrates saw us as vagrants, petty criminals, bolshie trade unionists and agitators. Fine distinctions might be drawn and close attention paid to legal construction when disputes between white interests had to be settled; black interests were pushed down into magistrates’ or commissioners’ courts and criminalised into trespass, petty theft, and pass offences.1


Criminal Justice Public Prosecutor Criminal Procedure Supreme Court Appeal Court 
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© Peter Parker and Joyce Mokhesi-Parker 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Parker
  • Joyce Mokhesi-Parker

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