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Transforming Society

Securing Rights

Restoring Dignity

5 Apr 2019
    
The Constitution of South Africa provides for justiciable socio-economic rights. The right of access to adequate housing is one of the rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights in section 26 of the Constitution. The Constitutional Court in Jaftha v Schoeman and Others, Van Rooyen v Stoltz and Others 2005 (2) SA 140 (CC) stated the importance of the right of access to adequate housing in the following terms:
“Section 26 must be seen as making that decisive break from the past. It emphasises the importance of adequate housing and in particular security of tenure in our new constitutional democracy. The indignity suffered as a result of evictions from homes, forced removals and the relocation to land often wholly inadequate for housing needs has to be replaced with a system in which the state must strive to provide access to adequate housing for all and, where that exists, refrain from permitting people to be removed unless it can be justified.”

29 March 2019

The Constitution of South Africa provides for justiciable socio-economic rights. The right of access to adequate housing is one of the rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights in section 26 of the Constitution. The Constitutional Court in Jaftha v Schoeman and Others, Van Rooyen v Stoltz and Others 2005 (2) SA 140 (CC) stated the importance of the right of access to adequate housing in the following terms:

29 March 2019

On 13 November 2018, the Daily Maverick published an article written by Professor Belinda Bozzoli, a Member of Parliament and the Democratic Alliance’s shadow Minister for Higher Education and Training, entitled “What happens when universities start to decay: The case for Unisa”.  As a whole, the article is a vituperative attempt to undermine the credibility of the South African Human Rights Commission (‘the Commission’) and shows a patent lack of comprehension of its role and the methodologies employed in the course of its investigations.  Her observations, understood properly in context, recruits the pernicious sentiment that the Commission is moribund and needs resuscitation.  It conveys the message that the Commission does not have the ability and depth to carry out its constitutional and legislative mandate and therefore is not worthy of the respect accorded to it as an institution mandated to carry the vital function of strengthening constitutional democracy.

29 march 2019

I hate tribalism with the same vigor that many black South Africans show whenever a racist incident occurs. Every time I hear someone uttering degrading statements about my tribe, Tsonga, I feel doubly discriminated against. I am black and Tsonga.

29 March 2019

The concept of access to justice has become a global issue and has received recognition locally, regionally, and internationally. The right of access to justice is a fundamental human right which is not a “nice-to-have”, but a “must-have”. The ability to access justice unlocks all the other rights that a citizen has in any constitution of the country which she or he is resident in. Freedom under a democracy is meaningless if people are not able to access their rights. Therefore, the right of access to justice is a fundamental human and democratic right which is a central pillar of a free and equal society founded on the rule of law.
28 March 2019

The United Nations has dedicated the 22rd of March as World Water Day, in efforts to raise awareness about this vital resource and to encourage commitments by States that in the quest for water, no one should be left behind. January 2019 marked five years after the tragic death of Michael Komape, a 5 year old boy who helplessly drowned in excrement after falling into a pit latrine in 2014. The incident was sadly not the first to occupy prominent headlines exposing the shockingly unacceptable state of school infrastructure in South Africa.
28 March 2019

The post-apartheid South African society as per section 1 of the 1996 Constitution is founded on values of equality, the advancement of human rights and non-racialism amongst others. Despite many measures, initiatives and efforts, including the enactment of laws, policies and establishment of institutions such as the South African Human Rights Commission; to build a South Africa where all those who live in it, black and white, equally belong; the challenge of racism and its polarizing effects still persist in our beloved country.
28 March 2019

The previous year was riddled with scandals such as the looting of VBS Mutual Bank, as outlined in the report on behalf of the South African Reserve Bank, by Advocate Terry Motau, entitled The Great Bank Heist.
This is but one of the many issues of rampant corruption and a deterioration in governance and accountability in both private and public sectors, in recent times.
14 March 2019

The call for the expropriation of land without compensation emerged again in the Economic Freedom Fighters’ call for poor people to occupy vacant land. This call has also culminated in a questioning of whether Section 25 of the Constitution needs to be amended to address the land question.
10 March 2019

A person’s right to dignity and ‘security in and control over their body’, both in the Bill of Rights, provide for the acceptance of euthanasia, write Tseliso Thipanyane and Fikile Makane.

Human dignity is the essence of what defines us as individuals and as members of our respective societies and communities. There is no us or me without dignity, or botho or ubuntu, as referred to in the Sesotho and Nguni language groups in South Africa.
12 March 2019

On Sunday night, the 3rd March 2019, many South Africans bore witness to a video of what appears to be Bongekile Simelane – commonly known by her stage-name, Babes Wedumo – being allegedly assaulted by her boyfriend Mandla “Mampintsha” Maphumulo. The video was digitally broadcast via her Instagram account and thrust the ongoing discussion around domestic violence and gender-based violence back into the public domain. Subsequent to the incident, Mampintsha has been arrested, released on bail, laid counter charges against Simelane. Social media as well as popular media has been awash with discussion on South Africa’s continued scourge of domestic violence and gender-based violence in general.
05 March 2019

The neglect of women’s sexual and reproductive health is pervasive. Women continue to suffer discrimination in health related issues like menstruation. It is important to note that lack of access to sanitary towels not only has adverse effects on school attendance but it also has ripple effects on the economic development of communities and countries as a whole. It is not just the girls and women who benefit from having proper menstrual hygiene, the broader society and national economies can profit from better menstruation management. Therefore, women’s sexual and reproductive health are not just women’s issues but are societal issues.
27 February 2019

Police regularly arrest people for the supposed offence of “dronk op straat”. The procedure following the arrest involves the detention of the suspected drunk person in police holding cells for a minimum of four hours before release. All too often, these suspected drunk people are released late at night or in the early, pre-dawn, hours of the morning. Thereafter many are left to walk long distances to their homes.
The only reasonable conclusion one can reach, for the practice is to lock suspected drunk people up, to sober up. Whether this practice has a legitimate function in law, is in question?  
27 February 2019

Police regularly arrest people for the supposed offence of “dronk op straat”. The procedure following the arrest involves the detention of the suspected drunk person in police holding cells for a minimum of four hours before release. All too often, these suspected drunk people are released late at night or in the early, pre-dawn, hours of the morning. Thereafter many are left to walk long distances to their homes.
The only reasonable conclusion one can reach, for the practice is to lock suspected drunk people up, to sober up. Whether this practice has a legitimate function in law, is in question?  
25 February 2019

At the beginning of each year, learners and parents alike brace themselves while waiting for the admission and placement of learners in schools. As evidenced by occurrences in previous years, and the more publicised ordeal at Hoërskool Overvaal in 2018, learners from previously disadvantaged groups can often be overlooked and left without access to a school.
15 February 2019

HUMAN RIGHTS

Migration is a global phenomenon, which continues to grow daily. There are 244-million international migrants, 3.3% of the global population, according to the International Organisation for Migration’s World Migration Report 2018.
A number of push-and-pull factors cause people to move — voluntarily or involuntarily — between countries. Some of these include natural disasters, political unrest, conflicts, poverty, human rights violations, limited opportunities and little safety.
15 February 2019

South Africa is lauded as country with a progressive Constitution which is founded on the supremacy of the Constitution and the rule of law. The Constitution of South Africa guarantees everyone a number of fundamental human rights, including the right to have access to courts which is enshrined in section 34. This right is commonly referred to as the right to have access to justice. This right is recognised as a basic human right under international law and in constitutions of democratic countries across the world.
03 February 2019

In December, the Grahamstown High Court in the Eastern Cape handed down a judgment that found that the right to a basic education could not be extended to undocumented children. This week, the application for leave to appeal against this judgment was dismissed, and the implications are potentially massive.
14 November 2018

Violent protests at health facilities haven’t only uncovered failings, they have revealed the interconnected nature of the rights we aspire to live


Historically, protest action has been the only social currency people could effectively use to overcome oppression. During apartheid South Africa, violent protests were an arguably justifiable response to the time’s illegitimate and oppressive regime.
01 October 2018

By Advocate Bongani Majola and Adv Pansy Tlakula

“In a democratic society such as our own, the effective exercise of the right to vote also depends on the right of access to information.  For without access to information, the ability of citizens to make responsible political decisions and participate meaningfully in public life is undermined.”
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The South African Human Rights Commission.

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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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