2. Unit 7 learning outcomes
Conceptualise the constitutional meaning of Administrative
Conceptualise the meaning and content of administrative justice
in terms of the PAJA.
Contextualise the application of the principles of lawfulness,
reasonableness and procedural fairness in public administration.
Contextualise the application of the duty to provide written
reasons in public administration.
• Administrative justice refers to the principles that a public official should comply
with to be able to act in a just, fair, reasonable and lawful way towards others.
• These principles are: lawfulness, reasonableness, and procedural fairness.
• These principles promote the orderly functioning of governmental institutions.
• The right of administrative justice has been constitutionalized by the Constitution of
the Republic of South Africa, 1996 and fleshed out in the Promotions of
Administrative Justice Act, 3 of 2000.
• Not every decision a member of the administration takes is “of an administrative
nature”. Deciding what to have for lunch or what to do after work are obviously not.
But decisions that administrators take as part of their job are of an administrative
4. Administrative justice in terms of the PAJA
The four components of administrative justice in terms of the provisions of
the PAJA are:
1. Lawful administrative action means that administrators must obey the
law and must be authorised by law for the decisions they make.
2. Reasonable administrative action means that the decision taken must
be justifiable - there must be a good reason for the decision.
3. Procedurally fair administrative action means that decisions should
not be taken that have a negative effect on people without consulting
them first. Also, administrators must make decisions impartially. To
ensure fairness, the PAJA sets out procedures that administrators must
follow before they make decisions.
5. Administrative justice in terms of the PAJA
4. Duty to provide reasons upon request
The PAJA requires administrators to give adequate reasons,
when asked to do so, for the decisions that they have taken.
The duty to give reasons has two components:
• To provide reasons on request: The public official is not obliged
to furnish reasons without a request from the person affected.
• To notify an affected party: The affected party must be informed
of his/her right to request reasons (this promotes procedurally
fair administrative action).