Freedom of Expression

SALC’s Freedom of Expression work is integrated within its other programmatic areas and focuses on the following objectives:

  • To deepen the understanding of and litigate on freedom of expression, association and assembly and access to information issues that affect various SALC focus areas.
  • To conduct advocacy and litigation around the decriminalisation of expression, with a focus on challenging criminal defamation, sedition, and terrorism legislation which infringes on freedom of expression.
  • To support litigation which challenges infringements of the right form associations and to protest.
  • To support the criminal defence of journalists and human rights defenders who are persecuted for their views.


On-going cases:

Swaziland: Case challenging the constitutionality of the Sedition and Subversive Activities Act.
Swaziland: Case challenging the constitutionality of the Suppression of Terrorism Act.
Lesotho: Case challenging the offence of criminal defamation.
Botswana: Case challenging refusal to provide access to information. Updates coming soon.
Botswana: Amicus curiae application of MISA Botswana to challenge a provision in corruption legislation which criminalises publication of information. Updates coming soon.
Zimbabwe: Case challenging the refusal to allow sex workers to march. Updates coming soon.

Precedent cases:

Zimbabwe: Support amicus curiae in case confirming that criminal defamation no longer an offence in Zimbabwe.
Botswana: Case challenging the refusal to register an LGBT organisation.
Swaziland: Supporting lawyer and editor charged with contempt of court.
Zambia: Support activist’s right to freedom of expression.


04 Jun 2018 Staff Writer
SALC in the News: It is a tragedy that Zimbabweans outside the country will not ...

Daily Maverick Kaajal Ramjathan-Keogh & Gabriel Shumba On 30 May 2018, the Zimbabwe Constitutional Court in Shumba and others v Minister of Justice and Parliamentary Affairs & others ruled that Zimbabweans outside the country could not participate in elections and…

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01 Jun 2018 Staff Writer

On May 30, 2018, The Zimbabwe Constitutional Court handed down judgment in Gabriel Shumba & Others v Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs & Others. The Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) together with Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)…

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29 May 2018 Anneke Meerkotter

Published by AfricanLII on 28 May 2018 In this opinion piece, Anneke Meerkotter, Litigation Director of the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC), discusses a recent High Court of Lesotho (sitting as a Constitutional Court) judgment which declared the offence of criminal defamation…

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23 May 2018 Tashwill Esterhuizen
Botswana: Challenging Criminalisation of Same-sex Sexual Relationships...

In September 2016, a gay man, filed an application challenging the constitutionality of sections 164(a), 164(c) and 165 of the Botswana Penal Code. These provisions criminalise same-sex sexual acts between consenting persons. The man seeks an order that the continued…

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22 May 2018 Anneke Meerkotter
News Release: Lesotho Court declares offence of criminal defamation invalid...

Maseru, Lesotho – On Monday 21 May 2018, the Lesotho High Court (sitting as a Constitutional Court), in a unanimous judgment declared the offence of criminal defamation unconstitutional with retrospective effect. The case of Basildon Peta v Minister of Law,…

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21 May 2018 Staff Writer
Lesotho: Challenging the offence of criminal defamation...

SALC supported a case challenging the constitutionality of the offence of criminal defamation. On 6 July 2016, Basildon Peta was charged with the crime of defamation in contravention of section 104 of the Penal Code Act. The charges related to…

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