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|Frequently Asked Questions|
How do I lodge a complaint?
Complaints must be made in writing. You can either send us a letter or email or you can contact the complaint's information line and ask for a complaint form. You can also print the form from our website. If you cannot write the complaint down yourself you can ask a friend or support person to write it down for you or you can contact the complaints information line and an officer will help you write it down or refer you to someone who can help you. You can write the complaint in your preferred language and we will arrange to have it translated.
Complaints about discrimination can be made under specific grounds for complaint including race, sex, pregnancy, marital status, disability, sexual preference, age and trade union, government and private activity.
Will it cost me anything to lodge a complaint?
No. The Commission's complaint handling process is free.
From the time you lodge the complaint it can take a few weeks to allocate a complaint to the officer who will be handling it. The average time it takes to finalise a complaint from receipt is eight months. More complex complaints often take longer to finalise.
What will happen to my complaint?
After a letter of grievance is accepted as a complaint the Commission will assess how much investigation is required.
Will a copy of my complaint be given to the respondent?
For the Commission to investigate a matter properly the respondent must be advised of the complaint. If the Commission decides to investigate the complaint a copy of it will be forwarded to the respondent.
Will I be given a copy of the information the respondent gives to the Commission?
Generally you will receive copies of all the documents provided to the Commission by other parties if they are relevant to your complaint.
Will the Commission represent me?
No. The Commission does not provide legal representation or advocacy to any parties. The Commission handles complaints as an impartial party to the complaint. If you need advice about where to get legal representation or an advocate you can contact the complaints information line and an officer will provide you with contact details for an advocate or community legal service. This is not a guarantee of representation as those organisations are independent and will make their own decision about whether they can help you.
Will I need a lawyer?
You do not need a lawyer to lodge a complaint with the Commission. Our complaint handling process is designed to make it easy to access the service without a lawyer but you are entitled to get legal advice if you want to at your own expense.
What do I do if my complaint is dismissed by the Commission or cannot be conciliated?
If your complaint about race, sex, disability or age discrimination is terminated you may choose to take your case to the Constitution Court of South Africa or the Magistrates Court. You have 28 days to make your application. You should contact your nearest Court Registry to obtain further information. You should also seek some legal advice.
What happens if I decide I do not want to continue with my complaint?
People sometimes change their mind about continuing with their complaint or they may negotiate an outcome with the respondent before their complaint is allocated to an officer. You can withdraw your complaint at any time during the process without penalty. You should write and advise the Commission that you do not want to continue with the complaint or contact the officer handling your complaint and tell them you do not wish to continue. You do not have to tell us why have decided not to pursue your complaint.