chapter  4
30 Pages

Legal regulation

The fundamental legal condition for the existence of capitalist society is the protection of private ownership of the means of production. In South Africa the doctrine of dominium, or absolute ownership, has proved adequate to safeguard also the specifically capitalist forms of property without mentioning them by name. Ownership in South African law means 'the right which a person has in a thing to possess it, to use it and take the fruits, to destroy it, and to alienate it' (Gibson, 1970, p. 198). In this sense the entire body of law described as the 'law of things' provides the legal basis for capitalist production, while various other laws - notably the law of letting and hiring - create further essential conditions. The legal framework of capitalism is inherent in the South African legal system as a whole.