If a legislated provision has a negative impact on the choice of a trade, occupation or profession it must be tested in terms of its reasonableness. To be unlawful it must create an effective limit on choice and not simply regulate the trade. The test is one of rationality.

Section 22 of the Bill of Rights protects the right to choose a trade, occupation or profession freely and provides that the practice of a trade, occupation or profession may be regulated by law.

The applicant alleged that diamond dealing licensees’ trading rights had been improperly interfered with by a rule that forbade any unlicensed persons being present at diamond trading centres whilst unpolished diamonds were being viewed, purchased or sold. But the courts are not there to interfere with the legislature in regulating trade simply because they think there are other or better ways of dealing with the problem.

The regulation in question was aimed at promoting local beneficiation and ensuring the movement of unpolished diamonds is properly monitored and recorded. These are legitimate purposes and the way of achieving these purposes is not irrational. The new law is therefore not irrational and is valid.

[The case is South African Diamond Producers Organisation v Minister of Minerals and Energy N.O. and Others]