The Centre for Constitutional Rights takes pleasure in presenting its sixth annual Human Rights Report Card indicating where, in our opinion, South Africa has been making progress with regard to human rights and where it has been regressing.Photo credit: Chris Preen / Foter / CC BY
2014 marks 20 years since South Africa’s first democratic elections and a constitutional era underpinned by the values of human dignity, the achievement of equality and the advancement of human rights and freedoms; non-racialism and non-sexism; supremacy of the Constitution and the rule of law; and a multi-party democracy resulting in government that is accountable, responsive and transparent. As a result, South Africa is without doubt a better place to call home.
However, even though it is a functioning multi-party democracy, the growing failure within South Africa to fully appreciate and adhere to all of the aforementioned constitutional values – especially those of accountability, responsiveness and openness, but also non-racialism and non-sexism – is having a direct impact on the realisation of human rights and freedoms. These fundamental rights – as with constitutional values – are interrelated, interdependent and indivisible, meaning that the failure to adhere to one will affect realisation of other rights.
Nonetheless, South Africans enjoy most of the fundamental rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights in one way or another. This includes a fairly wide enjoyment of most political and civil rights, although the same cannot be said about the realisation of socio-economic rights. As a result, inequality in its many manifestations – including persisting poverty, unemployment and access to quality basic education, health services, water and sanitation services – remains a challenge even after 20 years. More communities have access to housing, electricity and water than ever before, although the inability to provide these services in a sustainable manner to all people – especially at local government level – remains the primary cause for ongoing service delivery protests across the country. Similarly, there are indeed more children enrolled in schools than ever before. However, the quality of basic education offered in the majority of South African schools continues to be low.
Read the full article here at The Centre for Constitutional Rights