Section 38(d) of the Constitution allows anyone acting in the public interest to approach a court alleging that a right in the Bill of Rights has been infringed or threatened. The issue is always whether a person or organisation acts genuinely in the public interest.

The court will take into account considerations such as whether there is another reasonable and effective way of pursuing the cause; the nature of the relief sought; the extent to which the relief is general and of future benefit; the range of persons or groups who may be affected by the order; and the opportunity that those persons or groups have to represent themselves and the extent to which they have been consulted. Usually it is required that there is a live issue and not an abstract legal principle.

In the present matter the Limpopo Legal Solutions Voluntary Association brought an application to oblige the local and national government to provide toilet facilities for residents of Malamulele who are unable to afford to install their own facilities.

The application was brought on the grounds that the conduct of the municipality in failing to provide toilet facilities infringed the right to human dignity of the residents protected under section 10 of the Bill of Rights.

A lower court had dismissed the application on the basis that the applicant association had no legal standing. This was overruled by the Constitutional Court on the basis that the applicant was genuinely acting in the public interest.

The case is Limpopo Legal Solutions v Vhembe District Municipality and Others.