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Transforming Society

Securing Rights

Restoring Dignity

06 October 2016

In a landmark judgment on September 13 this year, the Constitutional Court engaged in some nimble judicial crafting to cure impugned parts of section 65J (2) of the Magistrates’ Court Act 32 of 1944.

The case stemmed from an application brought by Stellenbosch University’s Legal Aid Clinic in 2015 to the Western Cape high court on behalf of 15 low-income consumers, who were struggling under the burden of garnishee orders that had been issued against them.

18 September 2016

Protests that target schools have taught us that we all have a role to play in safeguarding children’s rights, writes Lindiwe Mokate.

South Africa is among the countries that have the highest number of protests in the world - an estimated 13 500 a year, according to the police.


By Dr Martin Nsibirwa

10 May 2016

South Africa in line with accepted international human rights standards recognises the right to assemble, demonstrate, picket and petition. Section 17 of the South African Constitution recognises the right in the following terms “[e]veryone has the right, peacefully and unarmed, to assemble, to demonstrate, to picket and to present petitions”. Often we refer to this right as the right to protest.

17 May 2016

By Adv. Mohamed Shafie Ameermia

On 8 May 2016, the whole country remembered with fond memories the day when the Constitutional Assembly 20 years ago adopted the Constitution which would be the blue print of our country. However, as was noted by Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa who at the time was the Chairperson of the Constitutional Assembly, “[T]he real legacy of the Constitutional Assembly is not merely in the books that will be distributed, it lies in the growing awareness of what a Constitution means.

24 April 2016
By Dr Danny Titus
In 2015, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) adopted Guidlines on Arrest, Police Custody and Pre-Trial Detention (the Luanda Guidelines). The Luanda Guidelines outline legal measures for African Union States in order to strengthen national systems and practices focusing on arrest, police custody and pre-trial detention.
By Adv. Mohamed Shafie Ameermia
21 April 2016
As recent as September 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) where the leaders linked the concept of development with the notion that effective measures which ensure access to justice to all people and at all levels should be in place.
15 March 2016

As you know, the Commission is a constitutionally-enshrined body, first envisioned in the country’s interim Constitution and included in Chapter Nine of the final Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996.

Opinion piece by Advocate Shafie Ameermia, SAHRC Commissioner responsible for Access to Justice and Housing.

21 February 2016

The General Assembly proclaimed February 20 as World Day of Social Justice in 2007.
It invited member states to devote the day to promoting national activities in accordance with the objectives and goals of the World Summit for Social Development and the 24th session of the General Assembly.

By Commissioner Lindiwe Mokate
South African Human Rights Commission

09 February 2016

The Mining Indaba is regarded as the largest mining investment event, bringing together key stakeholders in the industry. We recognise that mining is an important developmental activity which contributes to home, office, schools and life in general. For these reasons, mining has an important role in fostering the development and realisation of socio-economic rights within South Africa and beyond.

10 DECEMBER 2015


Chairperson, South African Human Rights Commission and Chairperson of the International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (ICC)

Opinion Piece by Commissioner Mokate, SAHRC Commissioner responsible for Children and Basic education

29 May 2014

Despite having been abolished for 18 years, corporal punishment in schools continues with alarming frequency with the General Household Surveys 2012, indicating that some 2.2 million children were made subject to the practise in this year. Of late, the SAHRC has noted a considerable rise of incidence of corporal punishment in schools.

It is not a co-incidence that the South African Human Rights Commission decided to launch the Right to Food which on a day prior to the Human Rights Day in South Africa.

There must be a particular reason for the Constitutional imperative which states that ‘everyone has the right to adequate food and water’

Hartbeespoort, Rooikoppies, Vaalkop and Klipvoor Dams are located in the Madibeng Municipality. Four dams...that should be more than enough water for everyone, to drink, wash and wallow in on scorching summer days in the North-West Province. The world’s third largest chrome producer and the richest Platinum Group Metals Reserve are in Madibeng. During Apartheid and Democracy the wealthy owners of the mines, tourist companies, agribusiness and other large industries did not experience water shortages or water cuts. Yet communities who are Black and poor, living next to the dams complained to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) that they went without water for days, weeks and months.

Opinion Piece by SAHRC Deputy Chair Pregs Govender

On International Rural Women’s Day this week, over 250 rural women from across our country marched to Parliament. Their pamphlets and green t-shirts (over colourful traditional clothes) were imprinted with an image of a joyous woman. Hands encircling the earth, fingertips enfolding Africa, she proclaims:  “Women – guardians of seed, life and earth”.

It is a small ordinary garden, with colourful spring flowers on the one side and a neat vegetable patch on the other. I want to photograph it, to capture the courage that creates beauty.

Everything else we have listened to and seen that day, seem designed to crush the human spirit. The horrific statistics of poverty, inequality, unemployment, precarious employment, food insecurity, lack of access to housing, water and sanitation, ill-health and gender based violence speak of the destruction of human life. The flowers show how human beings survive.

Pregs Govender

On October 3, the 20th anniversary of the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), we travelled to Xhora Mouth in the Eastern Cape to report back to the community that laid a complaint regarding access to emergency medical services, which led to the SAHRC hearing on emergency medical services in the Eastern Cape earlier this year.
By Commissioner Janet Love and Angela Kariuki
28 August 2015
eGoli! The “Place of Gold”, the popular nickname adopted for Johannesburg in its formative years, is the economic hub of the country and the continent, generating a large percentage of South Africa’s GDP. The province in which it falls, Gauteng, is responsible for at least a quarter of the country’s total mineral production – the bulk of this being gold.
19 August 2015
By Dr Danny Titus
At a summit on rural safety and security in 1998 our former president Mandela was quite clear when he referred to the immediate human suffering, the lack of security and stability in our rural and farming community. He referred to the serious disruption to our economy, the threat of reduced growth and production, loss of wages and profits, and in time unemployment. He was referring to the attacks and killings on farms. He continued to state that "the government deplores the cold blooded killings that have been taking place on farms," and that "killings on farms, and crimes in general, have been a feature of South African life for many decades."
By Pregs Govender
09 August 2015
Wathint'Abafazi Wathint'imbokodo – Bread and Roses
The song of women on the march in 1956, honours the love that ensures the survival of millions of families and communities. One of the meanings of Imbokodo is ‘grinding stone’ referring to the work countless women do to produce food for our world. In contrast to the production of weapons of death, creating food to nourish and sustain life is not counted in the GDP, the measurement of economic growth.

Pregs Govender

09 August 2015

Dignity is the inherent worth and value of every human being. Humanity’s birthright was silenced by apartheid’s capitalist and patriarchal paradigm, which devalued, fragmented and destroyed human beings.

The earth, air and water that sustain life became commodities to exploit for profit.

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