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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The 'soft vengeance' of the people: popular justice, community justice and legal pluralism in South Africa
Authors:Nina, Daniel
Schwikkard, Pamela JaneISNI
Periodical:Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:conflict of laws
popular justice
Abstract:State monopoly of law is not absolute at the community level. In South Africa at least two additional informal modes of ordering exist, one organized by the private sector (NGOs), the other organically developed by the communities (popular justice). These modes of ordering create their own notions of justice and establish their own 'laws', defining their corresponding legality. Their interaction does not occur without contradiction and conflict. Community justice constitutes an effective tool of empowerment, and it is not going to disappear in the new South African dispensation. The 'soft vengeance' approach of the people in continuing to organize themselves irrespective of the election of a democratic government needs to be recognized. The paper first provides a theoretical framework of legal pluralism and some ideas on popular justice and mediation/alternative dispute resolution. Secondly, it contextualizes the South African experience of plurality of legal modes and considers several cases of self-regulation of organs of popular justice, including a proposal launched by the South African National Civic Organization (SANCO) for the continuance of its existing anticrime committees and the establishment of community courts. Thirdly, it contextualizes the interrelation between State law and popular and private justice in the new South Africa and provides some ideas on the future. Bibliogr., notes, ref.