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Inequality remains a challenge in South Africa, says Human Rights Commission

21 March 2022

As  South Africa commemorates Human Rights Day, the South African Human Rights Commission says despite having one of the most celebrated constitutions in the world, inequality still remains a huge challenge in the country.

On this day in March 1960, 69 people were killed and 180 wounded in Sharpeville in the Vaal during a protest against the apartheid regime's pass laws.

The Commission’s Trends Analysis Report which was released a week ago shows that complaints around issues of equality continue to constitute the highest number of complaints received by the Commission.

Commissioner André Gaum says the South African constitution still faces a huge challenge regarding issues of inequality.

“South Africa’s constitution has been celebrated as the most progressive constitution in the world. This means that it makes provision for and fortifies basic human rights which are often seen as privileges in other countries.

Part of the reason that is celebrated globally is because it is clear on issues such as the independence of the judiciary, institutions supporting democracy, equality before the law and separation of powers.

"However, the fact that South Africa remains one of the most unequal societies in the world is indicative that we are not living up to the ideals and the expectations of the constitution,” says Gaum.

He says the government failing to provide services which are considered part of basic human rights.

“The country’s record with respect to socio-economic rights is inconsistent with the values and ideals of the constitution. The commission has noticed that equality complaints continue to constitute the highest number of complaints received annually, unfair discrimination and hate speech significantly distract on South Africa’s project of achieving social cohesion and nation-building. The government is found wanting on matters concerning to health care, water and even education.”

Source: East Coast Radio

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The Human Rights Commission is the national institution established to support constitutional democracy. It is committed to promote respect for, observance of and protection of human rights for everyone without fear or favour.

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