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Transforming Society

Securing Rights

Restoring Dignity

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.”
By: Advocate Bongani Majola & Advocate Pansy Tlakula   

01 October 2018

“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.”
25 September 2018

The Constitution and the Bill of Rights cannot by themselves correct the injustices of the past. That is up to the leadership and citizenry of South Africa.

In the wake of the commemoration and celebration of President Nelson Mandela’s centenary, the world, and South Africans in particular, have serious questions to ask and in turn answer on the issue of social justice.
By: Advocate Tseliso Thipanyane & Khanye Mase   

11 September 2018

On the 19th of June 2018, United States of America (USA) Ambassador to the United Nations (UN), Nikki Haley, announced that the USA would be leaving the Human Rights Council, noting that “we take this step because our commitment does not allow us to remain a part of a hypocritical and self-serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights.” The Trump administration’s recent decision has been at the heart of contentious debate and it has been viewed as unpopular amongst the international community. Boris Johnson, the erstwhile Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom (UK) stated that the UK aspires to see reform in the Human Rights Council but that they are committed to “working to strengthen the Council from within.” He further stated that “Britain’s support for the human rights council remains steadfast. It is the best tool the international community has to address impunity in an imperfect world and to advance many of our international goals.”
01 July 2018

According to the United Nation’s 2017 International Migration Report, South Africa is host to an estimated four million migrants. This figure is set against a backdrop of a history of migration into South Africa that was marked by exploitative labour arrangements between South Africa and its neighbouring countries. This history is often treated with a ‘historical amnesia’ of the contribution of migrants to the South African economy and society. Migrants and particularly African migrants are met with a distrust and hostility that appears as xenophobia.
Transformasie aan universiteite is nie ’n blote kwotastelsel sonder ’n uitkomsgebaseerde fokus wat uiteindelik tot die uitsluiting en die verlaging van standaarde sal lei nie, skryf adv.

Beeld 23 Jun 2018André Gaum.

’NOnlangse hoofartikel in Beeld stel vrae aan die Suid-Afrikaanse Menseregtekommissie (MRK) oor dié se verslag voor die parlementêre portefeuljekomitee oor hoër onderwys en opleiding.
26 April 2018

The high court judgment in the case of YG versus the State in 2017 banned corporal punishment in the home, which, in effect, bans it in all places.
24 – 30 November 2017

Nonconforming people are protected by the Constitution in a complex tug-of-war

Recently, I had an oppor-tunity to see a screening of the award-winning film Inxeba: The Wound, which explores, in an incisive fashion, the complex ties involving oppressed sexual orienta-tion, gender identity and expression. This is done provocatively against the backdrop of the Xhosa rite of ulwaluko — a practice that has always been masked in secrecy and is intended to prepare young men for manhood.
It seems unlikely that the Zimbabwe situation – even though seeming to satisfy the elements of a coup, albeit in slow motion – will be defined as such. By MARTIN NSIBIRWA and PEACEMORE MHODI.

he phenomenon of unconstitutional changes of government within the African context is one that is supposedly regarded as a serious matter. Views abound that it was actually intended to safeguard unconstitutional change of governments that were in power even against the will of the people. The Organisation of African Unity (OAU), the precursor to the African Union (AU), has given much attention to the issue of unconstitutional change of government. At least three policy instruments at a continental level address the issue of unconstitutional change of government. These are, first, the Declaration on the Framework for an OAU Response to Unconstitutional Changes of Government (Lomé Declaration), second, the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (Addis Charter), and third, the Constitutive Act of the AU (Constitutive Act).
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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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