The Ramifications of International Law in South Africa: Blind SA v Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition (CCT 320/21) [2022] ZACC 33 (21 September 2022)




Blind SA, Copyright Act, Copyright Amendment Bill, Marrakesh Treaty, accessible format copy, adaptation, reproduction, international law


This work is centred on the judgment of the Constitutional Court in Blind SA v The Minister of Trade (CCT 320/21) [2022] ZACC 33 (21 September 2022), and the issues raised by this judgement. The main concern for this contribution is the overreliance on a non-ratified treaty – the Marrakesh Treaty –, which calls for the assessment of the place of international law in South Africa. The paper finds that while the issues raised in the Blind SA case – the rights of people with disability – are legitimate, the manner in which they were raised went beyond the prescripts of the Constitution.


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Author Biography

Malebakeng Forere , University of Witwatersrand

Associate Professor, School of Law, University of the Witwatersrand.




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Case law

Blind SA v Ministry of Trade, Industry and Competition (14996/21) [2021] ZAGPPHC 871 (7 December 2021)

Blind SA v Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition (CCT 320/21) [2022] ZACC 33 (21 September 2022)

Democratic Alliance v Minister of International Relations and Cooperation 2017 3 SA 212 (GP)

National Commissioner of the South African Police Service v Southern African Human Rights Litigation Centre 2015 1 SA 315 (CC)

S v Makwanyane 1995 3 SA 391 (CC)


Constitution of Botswana, 1966

Constitution of Canada (Constitution Act), 1982

Constitution of Mauritius,1968 (as revised in 2016)

Constitution of Norway, 1814 (as revised in 2018)

Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996

Copyright Act 98 of 1978

Protection of Investment Act 22 of 2015

Government publications

Copyright Amendment Bill [B13D-2017]

Performers' Protection Amendment Bill [B24D-2016]

International instruments

Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (1886)

Charter of the United Nations (1945)

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006)

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966)

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966)

Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled (2013)

Statute of the International Court of Justice (1949)

Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement (1994)

WIPO Copyright Treaty (1996)

WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (1996)

Internet sources

Human Rights Watch 1991 Recommendations to the Government of South Africa and the United States accessed 10 August 2023

SA History date unknown Sharpeville Massacre, 21 March 1960 accessed 12 August 2023

University of Stellenbosch date unknown Professor Owen H Dean accessed 12 November 2023



How to Cite

Forere , M. (2024). The Ramifications of International Law in South Africa: Blind SA v Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition (CCT 320/21) [2022] ZACC 33 (21 September 2022): . Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal, 27, (Published on 19 February 2024) pp 1–20.



Case Notes

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